08/07/13 — Daughtery: Sorry for attack on Smith

View Archive

Daughtery: Sorry for attack on Smith

By Steve Herring
Published in News on August 7, 2013 1:46 PM

Wayne County Commissioner Joe Daughtery, who just two weeks ago called for the firing of County Manager Lee Smith, Tuesday morning apologized for having done so.

"I wish to extend an apology to Mr. Smith and my fellow commissioners on my motion at our last meeting," Daughtery said during the board's Tuesday meeting. "Since that time I have received additional information that enables me to state that this is not the time for us to make a change in our current management and that it would be in the best interest of our county that we proceed on with our current management.

"Sometimes we may have differences and squabbles like families, but we bounce back stronger as we recommit to bringing improvements to Wayne County."

He did not elaborate on what the additional information was, or where it came from.

Asked after the meeting about the nature of the information, Daughtery had no further comment.

At the board's July 16 meeting, Daughtery said he had lost trust and confidence in Smith, who he said had provided inaccurate and misleading information to commissioners. His motion to fire Smith failed 6-1.

While agreeing with some of Daughtery's comments, commissioners said at that meeting that they were not in position to be without a county manager. Commissioners were not prepared to move to a new manager because that was not something the board has been working toward, Commissioner Ed Cromartie said.

During the public comments section of Tuesday's meeting, former commissioner Andy Anderson said there had been comments about firing or getting rid of Smith.

He said that he was well aware, and respects, that the board hires and fires the county manager.

Anderson said he had worked with Smith for "many, many years."

"I really respect the man," Anderson said. "He does a fantastic job. He has a fantastic memory. He is well organized. I have seen and worked with him, and many of the businesses that we have here in the county, the good things that have happened, he has had a part in them."

For example, Anderson said, when AAR came to the county Smith did a lot of research and helped to push and get that company to locate in the county.

Smith also has been responsible for securing millions of dollars for improvements to the county airport that is now among the finest small non-commercial airports east of the Mississippi River, Anderson said.

"These are just two quick examples," he said. '"He does what you ask him to do. That is what your job is, to ask him to get the information. It is his job to get it and you do what you please with it.

"One other thing along that same line, if we don't keep our businesses here we are going downhill and becoming a Third World nation, or a county in this case. I think he is one of the smartest men that I know and will do a good job for you. Use him properly and I think you will get a good job out from him."

Anderson reminded commissioners that they were a board of seven and that he would like for them to remember that they were all elected by the voters.

Anderson, who like Daughtery is a Republican, said he had served under a Democratically controlled board, but that things "got done" and that they had worked as a team.

"I didn't always get what I wanted, but we got the job done," he said. "I would recommend that you all work together as a team for the betterment of this county. None of you are an island unto yourself."

Anderson said he appreciated what the board was doing and wasn't at the meeting to complain.

Later in the meeting, Chairman Steve Keen said the board had put politics aside.

"We put people first today," he said. "The Book of Philippians talks about an attitude of humility. Today we saw a commissioner humble himself in public for something that was said two weeks ago. That humility has a much greater impact on people than you can even imagine."

Keen said as was mentioned two weeks ago that each commissioner has their own right, because they represent residents, to have suggestions "that are from their heart."