City Council will examine parade policy
By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on October 25, 2009 2:00 AM
City officials called concerns regarding the Nov. 11 Veterans Day parade valid Friday and said new rules that would leave members of the Wayne County Veterans and Patriots Coalition picking up trash along Center Street after the event will soon be under review.
Goldsboro City Manager Joe Huffman said downtown street closure stipulations would be discussed by members of the City Council at their next meeting, and urged local veterans to allow the board time to correct an "unintended consequence of the policy" that drew the ire of Military Order of the Purple Heart state commander Mike Burris Thursday.
"We have a very strong interest in supporting the military community and the veterans as well. That goes without saying," Huffman said. "We're very sensitive to veterans' issues and my thinking is an accommodation will be made."
He said when the council approved a list of criteria for hosts of parades and similar events at its June 1 pre-meeting work session, those who supported the measures had "no idea" they would one day cause strife, that it would create a situation in which people might question the city's commitment to those men and women who have served -- and continue to serve -- their country.
Burris reacted Friday -- after fielding dozens of phone calls from supporters, fellow veterans and county and city staff -- saying he and his comrades do understand just how much members of the city staff and elected board care.
And that is why they were caught off guard when they heard from members of the Goldsboro Police Depart-ment they would have to pick up trash after the parade.
"(Downtown Goldsboro Development Corp. promotions coordinator) Lara Landers said they were sorry, just so sorry that this happened. They said it was absolutely unintentional," Burris said. "So I am going to take them at their word and they say we're going to get this thing figured out."
Fellow Veterans and Patriots Coalition member Bill Carr feels the same way.
If anything, the misunderstanding showed him just how many people in the city and county really care about their more seasoned heroes.
"I've been taking calls all day from Judge Arnold Jones, District Attorney Branny Vickory and many others," Carr said Friday evening. "They have all offered to help us and support us in any way they can."
They even offered to bring groups of volunteers downtown during the parade to clean the streets, he added, but that likely won't be necessary, as the conversations he has been involved in to this point seem to support Huffman's belief that an accommodation will be made.
"I don't think they meant anything by it. We know the city and county are behind the veterans," Carr said. "I think this was all just a big misunderstanding. We're still close. As close as ever."