Goodman: Felony conviction doesn't matter
By Ty Johnson
Published in News on March 26, 2012 1:46 PM
Former Goldsboro City Councilman William Goodman Jr. is again seeking office after being out of politics for nearly a decade.
Goodman, 62, resigned from the District 3 seat in 2004 after he pleaded guilty to a felony charge for falsifying expense reports on his job with the state Department of Corrections. He did not serve any time but was ordered to reimburse the state and sentenced to nearly a half year of probation.
Goodman says the although he has not held office for years, he has remained active in city affairs, with residents and city employees continuing to seek his advice on a variety of issues.
"Since I stepped down until even right now I've still had people come to me with issues in the city and I steer them to the department they need," he said.
Current Councilman Don Chatman was appointed to take Goodman's place but announced earlier this year that he would not seek re-election to another term.
Goodman faces Ben Farlow in the May 3 election, which is non-partisan.
Goodman said much of his time away from politics was spent taking care of his mother, who died last year. He said the fact that he now has more available time, coupled with his concerns about the city, led him to decide to get back into politics.
Goodman said he always voted his own way, and was never one to shy away from voting against the majority if he it was in error. He cited his vote against the Phase 11 annexation as proof.
He noted that District 3 encompasses some of the poorer areas of Goldsboro and that no large projects have been begun in the district since he left office. He added that dilapidated dwellings and illegal activities, including illicit drug use, continue to plague neighborhoods in the district. These are issues he wants to address, he said.
Goodman said that as a councilman he was always responsive to the needs of his constituents.
"If I got a phone call and it was 10 o'clock, I would get up to check it out," he said. "I don't see that happening now."
And as for his felony conviction, Goodman said he didn't it would be a deterrent to voters in his district.
"I want to talk about now and the future," he said when asked about it.
Although felons aren't allowed to vote, once convicted felons pay their debt to society -- through satisfaction of their sentences -- they may register to vote again, thereby making them eligible to run for office. According to the Felony Disclosure Form Goodman submitted along with his election filing packet, his rights were restored June 1, 2005 and he re-registered to vote April 3, 2006.
Goodman's legal troubles stemmed from the time he spent as a training scheduler for the Department of Correction where he was accused of falsifying expense reports in excess of $24,000 for several hundred nights he was on the road but actually spent at his mother's home and not at a motel as he put on his expense reports.
He was charged with five felony counts, but pleaded guilty to one, which he was convicted of June 1 -- the same day he drafted his resignation letter to the city.
Goodman said he didn't feel his offense against the state should, or would, matter when rated against his record with the city.
"There is nothing in the record with the city that jeopardizes my character with the city," he said, adding that he felt his district's support has not waned. "In the midst of all that, after that, and up 'til now, people -- voting people -- come to me wanting help or direction.
"I think the people in (District 3) know me as Bill Goodman. They judge me as Bill Goodman, not on anything in the past. My character in the community has never been in question."
Goodman noted that he has lived nearly his entire life within two blocks of his current home on Beale Street, and that he began his work with the Department of Corrections after a stint with the Wayne County Sheriff's Office. He served for nearly three years in the United States Air Force.