Mayor criticizes Council for funding vote

In an email sent to members of the Henderson City Council, City Manager Jerry Moss, and the Daily Dispatch, Henderson Mayor Clem Seifert criticized the Council for voting on the issue of jointly funded City-County programs in his absence.

In the email, the Mayor also defended his absence from the Tuesday night meeting.

Although Home in Henderson was not included in the original mailing, it has acquired a copy of the correspondence which is presented below:

To: EVANS, MARY ; ‘Bernard Alston’ ; ‘Lynn Harper’ ; ‘Robert B. Gupton’ ; ‘Elissa Yount’ ; ‘Garry Daeke (Partnership for Children)’ ; DAVIS, JR, LONNIE ; ‘Ranger Wilkerson’
Cc: Moss, Jerry ; WHITE, DIANNE ; ‘James Edwards’ ;
Sent: Wednesday, May 30, 2007 10:38 AM

Everyone … I was extremely disappointed to read in the Daily Dispatch this morning that you voted on the manager’s recommendation that we reduce some of the jointly funded programs by 12.5%. Last month in a city council meeting we agreed to discuss our position on this in committee prior to meeting with the county so that we would be clear on our position as a city council. I heard that at a FAIR committee meeting last week the issue was discussed and a recommendation was forthcoming to the city council. I called Mrs. Harper on Thursday (I think) and we had a wonderful discussion on this issue and she assured me that the only recommendation that was coming to the council now was to go ahead and schedule a meeting with the county. I advised her that I may not be at the meeting and if a vote on cuts was going to be before us, I would make arrangements to be there because I support the jointly funded programs and I told her that I would argue for their funding. Again, we had a great conversation about this issue as well as some other issues and we ended our conversation with the understanding on what the vote would be on. In fact, I was so confident in that understanding that I advised citizens who called me and wanted to come to the meeting to speak on this issue not to come. I told them that the vote would be on setting a meeting with the county and that was it. I don’t know what happened to cause a change but had I known about it I can assure you that I would have made arrangements to arrive at the meeting, albeit late, and I would have tried to arrange for this discussion to take place after I had gotten there.

My disappointment is twofold. One, I believe that we have an agenda so that we can all know what is on that agenda so that we can be prepared. The chairman of the FAIR committee explained to me what her intentions were regarding her report. What you ended up voting on was not what her intentions were, at least as it was communicated to me last week. You have the right to change the agenda anyway you choose whenever you choose. But, if we are not going to follow it the Journal Committee and our City Clerk spend a lot a time preparing an agenda that we don’t follow and the public doesn’t know exactly what we will discussing. Heck, the council doesn’t know what we will be discussing. Secondly, I have already heard this morning that I wasn’t at the meeting purposely. Usually, I don’t feel that I have an obligation to explain to anyone where I was, unless of course, I am on city business. My children play soccer at the YMCA on Tuesday and Thursday night and I am the coach of one of the teams. They played at 7:00 and I am the only coach. The city is important to me but not as important as my children. Besides, I was under the impression that the vote was simply on setting up a meeting with the county.

Thank you for reading. I felt compelled to set the record straight on this one. I feel strongly about continuing support for all of our programs, including the jointly funded programs. Mrs. Harper and I brainstormed about solutions to some of these issues and I felt good about how she was proposing that we proceed. We will find appropriate solutions to the issues facing the city together.


Donald C. Seifert, Jr.


City of Henderson

P. O. Box 1434

Henderson, NC 27536

252-431-6000 City Hall