Thursday, July 24, 2014

Trouble Hangs

In the Greensboro News & Record they write, Greensboro officials question $45 an hour contract with activist. Me, I'm questioning why Ben Holder was awarded a contract at $45 an hour while Beth McKee-Hugler and the Greensboro Housing Coalition is only charging the City $27 per hour while providing what appears to be decidedly more services.

Ben? Roch? Ed Cone? Mike Barber? Nancy Vaughan? Yvonne Johnson? Skip Alston? Is there anyone in Ben Holder's corner willing to 'splain these many questions or have you already hung Ben out to dry?

You see, Ben listed Mike, Nancy, Yvonne and yes, even Skip Alston as references to the City of Greensboro but now none of them are sticking up for Ben. Did anyone from the city call them? What did they say?

Quoting John Robert Kernoodle III in the comments at Allen Johnson's blog:

"The question about how Holder was hired is - at its core - an ethical question. I recognize that in a city where most business has been done behind close doors for decades ethics seems to a lot of people - like Mr. Matheny - like the weeds. But the fact remains that an ethical and transparent hiring process would go a long way to restoring (or creating in the first place) trust between voters, their elected council (and thus, advocates), and city staff.

That so many continue to minimize concerns about ethics and transparency is a testament to a city that is not whole and healthy.

You are right, Allen, that it's a shame Mr. Holder has gotten sucked up into a mess he might otherwise be shining a light on. That doesn't mean we should minimize the mess or pretend its distracting our city leadership from what's really important.

As a baseline we, the residents of Greensboro, should expect from our leaders and the staff they oversee that ethics is in all cases accorded primacy of place instead of shabby boosterism for new Hotels and entertainment venues."

You see, this is an ethics issue and people telling me to investigate things like the International Civil Rights Center and Museum (been there, done that) is a nonsensical response to news you don't want to hear. I gave Ben Holder every chance I could to clear his name starting with the way I broke the story even before the media did without naming names but did Ben or anyone else step up and tell us the truth?

I tried to cut Ben some slack but he wouldn't take it.

Supporting a friend when he's doing wrong is the very thing that drives dirty politics and yet some of Greensboro's most vocal critics of dirty politics are suddenly silent when each and every one of us knows Ben Holder has crossed the line. It may be he's your friend but you can still tell him he's wrong. If he can't handle the truth then he wasn't really your friend in the first place.

And there-in lies the problem for Mr Holder and the rest: Instead of shining a light on the problem as Ben has always done in the past, a desperate Ben Holder took Mike Barber up on the promise of a job with the City of Greensboro. That's why Ben set his blog to private rather than taking it down altogether-- he can always threaten to put it back up when he needs more money. And this isn't the first time Ben Holder has set his blog to private then later made it public again.

Then there was Ben and Jamal Fox. When Ben ran for City Council last year he wasn't running against Jamal Fox but he accused Jamal of being hired in an unethical way because Mr Fox had met the then city manager while Jamal worked at a restaurant. Seems Jamal asked the city manager for a job, filled out an application and was hired. But when Ben wants a job the job is made up especially for Ben. Why was Ben criticizing a candidate he wasn't running against? Could it be Ben was trying to appeal to those who were already in power and were hoping to keep Jamal out?

I e-mailed Beth Mcgee-Hugler of the Greensboro Housing Coalition earlier today. I really didn't want to involve her at all but getting to the truth has made it painfully necessary. I had for her a simple question that no one has yet to ask her. I'm hoping she'll reply soon. My question: How did she first learn about the request for proposals?

I think her answer might be very telling, don't you?