Mount Gilead Mayor Absent from Budget, CDBG Meetings

Mount Gilead Town Commissioners met briefly last night to adopt the new town budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1. The budget was adopted quickly, as was a request from town staff to delay submission of the Capital Improvement Plan until the Commissioners’ meeting on August 13, 2013.

A large group of citizens gathered for a called meeting of Mount Gilead Town Commissioners, June 24, 2013. The meeting was set to consider issues regarding the town's Community Development Block Grant and possible impact on work planned at Highland Community Center. (Johnny Almond photo)

A large group of citizens gathered for a called meeting of Mount Gilead Town Commissioners, June 24, 2013. The meeting was set to consider issues regarding the town’s Community Development Block Grant and possible impact on work planned at Highland Community Center. (Johnny Almond photo)

Mayor Pro-Tem Tim McAuley conducted last night’s meeting in the absence of Mayor Patty Almond, who also did not attend Monday’s called meeting regarding the town’s Community Development Block Grant and the possible impact on Highland Community Center.

At that meeting, Town Manager Katrina Tatum revealed that grant administrator Mary Beck had resigned due to conflicts with Mayor Almond.

Tatum said, “Mary Beck, our grant administrator, resigned due to a conversation she had with Ms. Almond, and she wrote a very lengthy letter. I’m not going to read it. Anybody who wants to, it is public record. She indicated that she was treated very rudely by our Mayor, and she could not see working with someone who would not attend to important business.”

Commissioners Monday did give Tatum authority to attempt to reenlist Beck’s services, and they gave Mayor Pro-Tem Tim McAuley authority to sign deadline extension documents that Mayor Almond refused to sign last week. That letter was prepared last Friday by the Town Manager.

“On Friday the 21st, I spent all day long writing an extension letter,” Tatum said, “including the fact that our administrator was lost, (which qualifies for) an automatic extension. I wrote to Sen. Stan Bingham, Rep. Ken Goodman and Rep. Justin Burr, asking them to support our request for an extension.”

Mayor Almond’s absence appeared to be universally unexpected by the Town Commissioners and staff, though her husband, Jones, told WMTG yesterday that her vacation “had been planned for months.” The Mayor did not publicly reveal any scheduling conflicts when the budget adoption meeting was set.

We’ll continue to follow developments regarding the Community Development Block Grant, and we’ll talk more about the proposed work at Highland Community Center in our local updates on the air tomorrow and Friday.

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