Interim manager admonishes Unity candidates’ accusations during Monday meeting

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SILER CITY — Monday’s Siler City Board of Commissioners meeting was brief, but Interim Town Manager Bill Zell used his time to address allegations made by four newcomers seeking seats on the board.

Some of the group candidates — Nick Gallardo, Sam Williams, Jared Picot and Dean Picot II — have claimed, in various forums and conversations, that the town spent “$50 or $60 million” during March, only received $50,000 in revenue and hasn’t been forthright with the public about how town funds are used.

“There were some candidates that were making some really outrageous statements about the town, and the innuendo was regarding malfeasance with some of our finances,” Zell said to the board. “These charges of malfeasance are ridiculous.”

Speaking in Wren Memorial Library’s multipurpose room, Zell held up a copy of the town’s financial statements and reports from March. Reports showed Siler City received $657,532.13 in revenue in March, and had expenditures of $729,971.65 — not $50 million.

“I really resent this because we’re a public entity,” Zell said. “Everything we do, for the most part, is public information, and all you have to do is ask us.”

The interim manager said claims made by the candidates were “outrageous and bothersome.” He warned the public and the board of the dangers of the “irresponsible claims” the “Unity 2022” ticket candidates have made.

“This innuendo of malfeasance is absolutely irresponsible when all you have to do is ask me, and we’ll get it to you,” Zell said.

Other business:

• The board proclaimed May 9 through May 15 as Police Week and recognized May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day. Mayor Pro Tem Chip Price recited the proclamation with Siler City Police Chief Mike Wagner, who said an event on May 11 would recognize police officers who died in the line of duty in North Carolina.

• The board also came to a consensus on replacing the town’s Christmas lights with smaller, LED snowflakes. Town staff said they hope to have the lights installed in time for the 2022 holiday season.

Reporter Taylor Heeden can be reached at theeden@chathamnr.com.

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