WILSON’S LOCAL PRINT AND DIGITAL COMMUNITY INSTITUTION SINCE 1896

Maybe city councilmen deserve a pay cut

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I am flattered that my frustration about Brewmasters was noted by The Wilson Times (“Citizen steals spotlight, outshines candidates in Brewmasters brouhaha,” editorial, Saturday) but speakers were allowed one topic at the end of the forum.

If I may, I noticed several other important patterns at the event.

First, it was difficult for candidates to offer succinct, direct responses to the question(s) at hand.

For example, when questioned about the 37 percent salary increase for council members, one candidate offered a detailed list of his “hard work,” implying he deserved a raise. Being a civic leader is not a “profession,” it is a service, and if you feel you deserve added compensation, don’t work for your community — go to work in the free market.

You are a leader, please try to see your effort as such and not as a job. Maybe volunteer your time?

Second, a pointed question was raised about creating more jobs here in Wilson. Almost all the candidates went into polished “political-speak” and discussed how we have to do a better job of training and preparing our youth through apprentice and trade programs. Gentlemen, that was NOT the question. I appreciate it sounds warm and fuzzy and helps you look like you care, but your political ADD took you off-topic.

If there are not enough jobs in Wilson, training our youth to be unemployed with a new skill is not going to help. In fact, Wilson youth, with a new skill, might go to Kinston or Greenville to work, and nothing you did that sounded so pretty at the forum helped Wilson — but might help neighboring towns.

Finally, you all praised our Wilson Police Department because that sounds good, too.

Are you not aware that there is discord in the department? Retired and active officers talk about it, openly, with passion. I am able to cite specific examples but will not out of courtesy to those officers who are still employed here.

Officers are resigning, not to work at Lidl or Staples but in other cities’ law enforcement agencies.

They are, for lack of a better term, “escaping” our department.

Not saying the individual officers are not doing their job, but I am saying they are not happy with the department. This is a budding problem with a tremendous potential downside.

If you are not aware of this, shame on all of you for being so out of touch.

And if you are aware of it, shame on all of you for intentionally misleading your constituency for the sake of making a feel-good pronouncement

Regardless, it is this kind of political three-card monte that justifies a 37 percent reduction in salary, NOT a raise.

I’d like to see more authenticity and reality and less posturing among our city and county leaders.

Mark Levin

Wilson

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