- Last Updated on 08:01 AM 01/24/11
- BY Sonny Riddle
During the HCSA board meeting Thursday, Frank E. Booker III, who described himself as a HCSA customer and a Halifax County taxpayer, called for the resignation of HCSA Executive Director Willie Jones and HCSA Chairman Doug Bowman.
Booker prefaced his remarks by commending the HCSA workers for the work they do.
“My concern is with the management and chairman of the board, who I believe personally are nice people, but who have done some foolish things that need to be corrected as soon as possible,” Booker said.
He described statements in the newspaper by Jones and Bowman as “arrogant and smug.”
“They claim they have a ‘done deal’ to build a $600,000 commercial mansion for the HCSA, and it can’t be stopped,” he said. “That is obviously not true gentlemen. Any contract can be stopped, and for you to tell the people of Halifax County it can’t be stopped, it’s such an obvious lie. Any contract can be stopped, you have to pay a penalty for your foolishness and arrogance.”
Booker read a letter that he said he hand-delivered to Jones Wednesday, explaining why he believes Jones should tender his resignation.
In his letter, Booker said, “You have forgotten you are a public servant, not the CEO of a private firm in which you can choose to do as you wish. I think you are arrogant.”
Booker goes on to say the claim that the “done-deal” for the new $600,000 “commercial mansion” for the authority cannot be undone. “That sir is not true, and you know it,” he said. “Any contract can be undone. Whom do you think you’re fooling? You’re not fooling me.”
He said it appears Jones, Bowman and County Administrator George Nester “have apparently kept public information about the rent you currently pay to the county for a tiny office space in a small business in Halifax to yourselves until you decide to leave Halifax because of the unreasonable and stupid rent the county administrator wanted to charge.”
Booker said Jones has “used this as an excuse to build yourself a $600,000 commercial mansion in the Town of South Boston.”
He continued, “You claim you looked at buildings in Halifax and found nothing that suited you. I think that’s a ‘fish story.’”
Booker asked Jones who he called in Halifax to show him a building.
“I’ve got several buildings for rent, and I never heard a ‘peep’ from you,” he said. “Who did you call? Who showed you property in Halifax, Virginia? Nobody! Nobody!
“You never gave the Town of Halifax a chance, never gave us a chance.”
Booker pointed out the HCSA office is a county office and should be kept in the county seat.
“You have a moral obligation, if not a legal one, to keep your administrative offices in the Town of Halifax, the county seat,” he said. “Apparently you don’t like Halifax.”
The Halifax businessman said there are plenty of people who could do Jones’ job.
“Engineers are a dime a dozen,” he said. “I will offer to take your job for three months for zero pay.”
Booker concluded by saying, “I think you should do the honorable thing and resign. Why, because I’ve been kept in the dark. This whole thing has evolved without public comment. All these things have come out after the fact.”
After Booker concluded his comments, HCSA board member Stewart Nelson said he took exception to Booker’s comments.
“Your opinions are fine, but I disagree with ‘arrogance’ or non performance. Willie Jones worked for this board, and we were involved in this decision,” he said. “So if there’s disagreement with the decision I understand. We were involved in the decision as a board.”
Booker said to the board, “If this were a private company, and I owned it, I would fire every one of you.”
Later in the meeting, HCSA board member Fred Mistal proposed a motion, with Coleman Speece’s second, that the board give Jones a 100 percent vote of confidence.
Mistal’s motion was unanimously approved, with Dexter Gilliam absent.