Jeff L. Thigpen Register of Deeds

Friday, August 06, 2004

Recap of August 5th Board of Commissioners Meeting

Several highlights of the meeting included approval of GTCC and Parks bonds being placed on the November ballot; a prolonged discussion re: Inmate Welfare Funds; denial of a request for a School Resource Coordinator; and we allowed small child day care businesses to increase their limits from 5 to 15.

Clearly, the best part of our meeting was the resolution regarding the Triad Highland Games coming to Bryan Park in Guilford County August 20-21st! A piper with Deep River Pipes and Drums blew some powerful sounds directly from Scotland and I was honored to read the resolution to them. For more information on the Triad Highland Games, go to

As always, we made some decisions that will really make a difference. And, as always, we looked horrible in the process of decision making (for a variety of reasons). I see Hoggard's Blog gives the reader his "OH MY GOD" perspective as an onlooker. I can't argue with much of his assessment and will not give excuses for our Board. Sometimes we need tough love. I must say I went through the "OH MY GOD" phase my first year as a commissioner.

Now, at times I have what I call a "Cookie" perspective as a commissioner. Basically, if you see me go to the back room and get a cookie, you'll know that during the "OH MY GOD" portion of our agenda--when my collegues are wrangling about issues that make no sense, taking positions for political leverage, or they are just bashing each other with rhetoric, I choose a different path--at least for a few minutes--then reengage with the power of sugar and peace of mind. If you see me bust a move to the cookies, you will know it's my own form of political yoga and will reengage shortly. The "Cookie" perspective reminds me of the "soda and pack of nabs" treat I used to get at times as a kid when cropping tobacco in mid-morning or mid-afternoons on a hot summer day. (If you can imagine, county commissioner meetings can be the equivalent of cropping the bottom leaves on a very long tobacco row at times.)

But seriously, the bond packages will be good for Guilford County and I encourage all to support them. The child care ordinance will enhance the capacity of small family-based day care centers to flurish and serve needy children.

I voted not to approve the school resource coordinator because principals and assistant principals in every school in Guilford County are cutting in their classrooms- from teacher assistants, to school supplies, and staff development for their employees in the school. The cost of the SRO position would cost us $110,000. Some school board members and staff would rather add 10 teacher positions at needy schools that have some level of discord for $450,000. I made a motion to bring both back to our board, but it failed for lack of a second. I am currently working to place the issue of 10 additional teachers in our classrooms for our next meeting. We should add the SRO position in our next budget.

On the Inmate Welfare Fund-- an issue that dealt with a small amount of money and a major portion of our time, I believed our Board should have funded the idenification system and other projects out of our contingency funds and worked with the Sheriff to fund other inmate needs. I made a motion to do exactly that, but it failed for a lack of a second.

Let me know your thoughts on the meeting....


  • -----Original Message-----
    From: []
    Sent: Thursday, August 05, 2004 9:45 PM
    To: Melvin Alston; Steve Arnold; Mike Barber; Carolyn Coleman; Bruce Davis; Bob Landreth; Mary Rakestraw; Linda Shaw; Jeff Thigpen; Trudy Wade; Billy Yow
    Subject: Tonight's Commissioner's Meeting

    Mrs. Shaw and other Commissioners,
    The mic caught your statement tonight..."I hope there weren't any high school students watching this tonight". Well, my high school aged son was watching tonight's meeting. He laughed. And as a taxpayer, I was quite embarrassed, not only by the lack of professionalism and disrespect of each other and taxpayers in attendance and TV viewing (talking while others are talking; bickering, etc.), but at the passing of funds out of an account that is clearly being misused.
    I feel that Mr. Thigpen's motion was the only 'sensible' motion made concerning usage of the Sheriff Dept.'s funds. The money should have come out of the contingency fund and the inmate welfare funds should go for just that...their welfare.
    I do feel strongly that the 'entry' cards are necessary for the psychologist, clergy, etc. I recall a story told by my pastor regarding the indignant behavior he was faced with when trying to secure entry into the jail to visit one of his church member's son.
    However, I do not feel that it is humane to have the inmates sleep on thin mattresses on the floor or on picnic tables. And I regret that there was not money (from the welfare fund) designated to alleviate this and other problems. I am not suggesting that the inmates live in luxury but I feel that they should be treated humanly.
    I am sure that Mrs. Rakestraw and Mr. Landreth, upon hearing about tonights' meeting, will be relieved that they were not in attendance.
    I'll end by saying I feel that many of your characters tonight clearly shone through based on how well you treated those of lesser character than yourselves.

    By Blogger Jeff L. Thigpen, at 2:44 PM  

  • Ladies and gentlemen,
    I have been a resident of this area for the past two years. I retired after 39 years of state service in another state and am quite happy here in my surroundings.

    I do feel strongly compelled to comment on a segment of tonight's televised Board Meeting covering Sheriff Barne's request for special funding. I do hope this was not an example of how the business of Guilford County is always conducted. You all should sit and watch yourselves. I think you would be embarrassed. I have never witnessed the extent of lack of professionalism many of you displayed. You were rude to each other in displaying a total lack of respect and uttering wise crack comments. I was amazed at what I saw and heard from you, who make decisions for the citizens of your county. I don't think some of your comments were intended to be heard, but did make it to the airwaves. It was apparent that many of you have your own agendas and were not giving your full attention to the issue at hand. If you have the interest of the citizens of Guilford County at heart you should issue an apology for tonight's conduct. Tonight's display made a mockery of democracy in Guilford County.
    Sincerely, Richard Stell

    REPLY: I apologize. It was unprofessional. There were legitimate issues that needed to be addressed, but the way our board acts at times in not defensible. It was clear to me that commissioners on all sides had made up their minds on the Inmate Welfare Issue and it became politicized. My motion to fund it out of fund balance was an attempt to end an unproductive discussion. It failed. I hear your frustration and appreciate your note.

    Take care,

    Jeff L. Thigpen

    By Blogger Jeff L. Thigpen, at 9:24 AM  

  • Dear Jeff,
    On behalf of the Open Space Committee I want to thank you for your "yes" vote to put the Parks and Open Space bond issue on the ballot in November. The Committee will work hard between now and the election to gain voter approval, and, should the bonds be approved, to apply the money wisely for open space acquisition for the good of the entire County. Thank you again.

    Jack Jezorek, Chair

    By Blogger Jeff L. Thigpen, at 2:39 PM  

  • Commissioner Thigpen,

    I wanted to thank you so much for inviting Triad Highland Games to the Commissioners meeting last Thursday. Let me apologize for taking so long to
    send this, but as I am sure you can imagine, things are getting hectic here. I wanted you to know that our members who were present were very much
    impressed with the enthusiasm that you and the Commissioners had for Triad Highland Games. Support from the local community is so very important to a
    volunteer organization like ours. It reaffirms that our efforts are appreciated, which in turn drives our resolve and commitment to producing a bigger and better event for our community. I am happy to report that we have just completed the first phase of improvements to the field the end of last week. At our expense, we trenched and ran potable water service from the practice facility to the center of the field which we will be using. Not only will this be of great use to us, but will serve to make the field area more attractive for usage by other events. We have scheduled next, either sometime late fall or early spring, to again trench and run electric service throughout the field as well. At some point either late fall or early spring, we will do some grading and leveling of the actual field itself.
    As I mentioned, this is all at our expense and is but one small way that we can express our gratitude to both the City of Greensboro and Guilford County
    for embracing us.

    Once again, thank you so very much for all of your efforts on Triad Highland Games' behalf.


    Mark Triolo

    Mark Triolo, Publicist
    Triad Highland Games
    Chairman, Triad Scottish Classic

    REPLY: Mark, I'm glad the Triad Highland Games have found a new home as you know! I've posted your website on my web blog and am encouraging everyone to be a part of the event. I appreciate the work you all are doing to make it a great event. I look forward to seein' you all on Friday night during the opening ceremonies!


    By Blogger Jeff L. Thigpen, at 7:39 AM  

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