Angier Mayor Comes Under Attack

Citizen asks for resignation

There was a standing-room only crowd for the second month in a row at the Angier Town Board meeting Tuesday night as speakers directly attacked Mayor Lew Weatherspoon and members of the board, with one citizen asking the mayor to resign his position.

The crowd gathered only a month after a split board voted to accept the forced resignation of former Town Manager Coley Price. Two commissioners, Bob Smith and Craig Honeycutt, voted not to accept Mr. Price’s resignation while Commissioners Loru Hawley and Mike Hill voted to accept the resignation. Mayor Weatherspoon broke the tie, joining Mrs. Hawley and Mr. Hill in accepting the resignation.

One speaker Tuesday night, former Angier Mayor and Commissioner Billy Surles, said Mr. Weatherspoon has failed in his efforts to lead the town since he took office following the 2015 election in which he narrowly edged out former Mayor R.H. Ellington.

“In my opinion, the meetings you have presided over have been a series of bloopers and blunders,” Mr. Surles said. “You can no longer be trusted to lead the town. I think you should save yourself some embarrassment and resign your position as soon as possible.”

Mr. Surles, a resident of Fuquay-Varina and Mr. Price’s uncle, also spoke out about how the mayor handled last month’s meeting when Mr. Price officially resigned.

In the March meeting, Mr. Weatherspoon had to ask the police to speak to Mr. Surles after several outbursts and questions he asked board members. The mayor again forced Mr. Surles to sit downTuesday when his allotted time for speaking expired.

“You knowingly denied taxpayers their First Amendment rights,” Mr. Surles said. “Your actions were reprehensible when you invoked a gag order.”

The mayor was within board regulations by limiting public comment. The town is required by law to have a public forum once a month. In Angier the board allots 20 minutes for public comment and each citizen is allowed to speak three minutes. In both the March and April meetings Mr. Surles went beyond his allotted speaking time.

Mr. Weatherspoon ended Tuesday night’s conversation when the public forum passed the 20 minute mark.

Former Angier Mayor and Commissioner Billy Surles (pictured) called for the resignation of Angier Mayor Lew Weatherspoon during a town board meeting Tuesday night. Dunn Daily Record Photo

The mayor was also attacked by Alan Coats, a representative of the Angier Chamber of Commerce. Though not mentioning specific employees, Mr. Coats accused Mr. Weatherspoon of attempting to remove other town officials.

Mr. Weatherspoon said the board has taken no action to remove other town employees.

“We can’t do that,” Mr. Weatherspoon said. “We control the town manager and the town attorney, that is it. We have no intention of getting rid of other town employees.”

In reference to the attacks by Mr. Surles and the other speakers Mr. Weatherspoon said, “I was elected by the people of Angier and I intend to serve out my term.”

“It is our desire to see the Town of Angier united in a manner that will promote growth and prosperity for all our citizens,” he said.

The board, again with a split vote, elected Christina Kazakavage as a new member of the town’s planning board. Board members Loru Hawley and Mike Hill voted for Ms. Kazakavage. Sam Gregory and Tom Taylor each got one vote. Commissioner Craig Honeycutt voted for Mr. Taylor and Commissioner Bob Smith voted for Mr. Gregory.

Mr. Taylor was a former member of the board and was requesting reappointment. He was nominated by Mr. Honeycutt.

“He has the experience and he is the man for the job,” Mr. Honeycutt said. Courtesy The Daily Record