Voters send clear message


Results of last week’s local election sent out a clear message of dissatisfaction.

Voters nearly ousted an incumbent mayor.

Mayor Ken Talton managed to win by a mere 13 votes over challenger J. Jerome Newton, 354-341.

However, 15 provisional votes here were not counted and could change the outcome of the final tally.

The Wayne County Board of Elections will certify the validity of the provisional votes when totals are canvassed on Thursday.

They could reverse the outcome.

It was the closest mayor race in memory for the non-partisan local election of municipal offices.

Talton, two years ago, defeated an incumbent mayor. That election was also one that reflected dissatisfaction, but it was more within the political circles than anywhere else.

This time it was dissatisfaction among the voters and not just a small segment among them.

Last week’s results are further corroborated by the fact that a pair of two-term town board members were also heaved out of their seat.

District 2 Commissioner Harlie Carmichael lost to political newcomer Delreese Simmons and District 4 Commissioner Dennis Draper got the boot from former police chief Tommy Brown.

Both of those cases send up the red flag of dissatisfaction among the folks who voted.

Mount Olive faces issues that will decide its very future, and the loss of experience on the town board will make it more difficult to move in a smooth and rapid way toward resolving them.

Both Simmons and Brown have been up front in making it clear they want to work together with the current board members to ensure a better future for everyone.

The new board will do itself and the entire community much needed service by working to solve the real issues and not rearranging the entire structure of town operations and obvious micro management.

It is obvious to all of us that voters are somewhat disgusted with that approach.

A transparent and open-door policy among elected and administration officials is a good start.

Mount Olive’s future rests in the hands of those trusted to see it all move forward and as quickly as possible.

However, in all fairness to our elected officials, they need to be given the courtesy of how slow the red tape of bureaucracy works.

The mistakes of the past are just that, and it is best to learn from them instead of riding down that same old road leading to the same old scenery and the same old outcome.

Residents have said what they want to say, and it is clearly not about pointing fingers and the blame game.

They want a future for their children and grandchildren.

William Holloman is a staff writer for the Mount Olive Tribune. He can be reached at wnh9326@gmail.com.


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