Archived Story

‘Wise’ remarks

Published 9:25am Thursday, December 1, 2011

To the Editor:

In response to Ms. Wise’s negative views on Thadd White’s article on Mr. Zee Lamb, I think that if Ms. Wise had lived in Bertie County all of her life she would be more informed about things in the county.

I have had the opportunity as a Bertie County School Board member to work closely with Mr. Lamb on several occasions.  Mr. Lamb is a very knowledgeable person in many fields.  As County Manager, having a law degree has been a big asset to the people of Bertie County.

A lot of things have taken place during his tenure in Bertie County….the main thing that sticks out is a very stable tax rate that has not increased 1 cent in 10 years.

As far as informing the people of the county of his raise, that is not his responsibility.  Minutes of meetings are public information.  They can discuss it in closed session, but it must be voted on in open session. I do not blame Mr. Lamb for taking the raise that was offered to him.  I do question the figure that you used in the paper as being the raise he received.

The little citizens group you referred to in the paper, which probably does not consist of more than 25 people, are always trying to stir up trouble.  They tried to do it with the school system, but were stopped at the last minute by the school board so now they are after the county commissioners.

As a “lifetime” resident and a tax payer of Bertie County, I have not had a problem with Zee Lamb and I have had no problems with the County Commissioners, except Wallace Perry.  I think they have done a very good job of moving forward and keeping the county solvent in a very tight economy.

In closing, I would like to ask you Ms. Wise – How long have you lived in Bertie County?  And if you don’t like Bertie County why are you still here?

As far as I am concerned Thadd White was right on the money with his article.


Alton H. Parker


  • Fen Rascoe

    Alton, at what time did this “little group” “do it (stir up trouble) with the school board?”
    Alton, taxes have not risen during Mr. Lamb’s tenure mainly because of the real estate boom in the early 2000′s. As you recall the last revalue was around 2003 in which property values soared so tax rates did not have to be raised, yet taxes paid were increased considerably as a direct calculation of the increased values -An old politician’s trick at word crafting. Taxes paid out of individual’s pockets have certainly increased during Mr. Lamb’s administration. This may not be his fault yet crediting him with no tax increase is unfounded.
    Alton, you appear to be suggesting that Ms. Wise is out of place and not worthy for voicing her opinion about Bertie matters since she hasn’t lived here as long as you. That is a sad precedent to set from an elected official that should be welcoming any and everyone he can to come and live here – especially when you charged with improving our schools – a direct beneficiary of more people moving to the county. Are you suggesting that only people that have lived here as long as you are entitled to an opinion?
    Mr. Lamb, nor his family never lived here. Maybe you should afford Ms. Wise the same respect that you appear to hold for him.

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  • John Davis

    Mr. Alton Parker

    Many would view Ms. Wise’s editorial comments as positive. The first amendment right is a foundational strength of this country.

    I join you in saying not raising the tax rate in 10 years is a strong accomplishment, a base line goal for any county manager. There are a lot of comparable counties without tax rate increases since 2001. Our tax rates are high and not benefiting from revenues raised from business and sales taxes. In Bertie since 2001, less people work as a percentage of the population. I do not think a majority of Bertie would say they are better off today than they were 10 years ago. We still have a lot of work to do. While keeping our tax rates low is a success, not growing our business and job sectors is equally a failure.

    Your claim that having a lawyer as a county manager is an asset. Perhaps if legal expenses were lower than comparable counties. Research on that potential benefit is showing we are not there. In fact, Mr. Lamb (a lawyer) could not even write up his on salary justification in February 2011. The county attorney did that at tax payers’ expense.

    Your characterization of Friends of Bertie as a little group of less than 25 people is only your opinion and wrong. There have been over 150 individual donations and petition signatures in the thousands not hundreds. You charged this little citizen group tried to stir up trouble with the school system but were stopped by the school board. Friends of Bertie has never made any comment or taken any action “against” the school system. To my knowledge, none of our support base has either. Perhaps you can be a little clearer on your accusation here? It is interesting that in the past you have criticized Mrs. Emma Johnson (a good leader) for exercising her first amendment write speaking on education issues. Consequently, you must now be speaking on behalf of the board when you say we stopped them from stirring up trouble.

    Apparently you feel people new to Bertie County are in some way inferior to a lifetime resident. All of us were new at some point to an area. Every American has equal rights wherever they live in America and regardless of for how long. A right an elected official should respect

    Alton, all elected board members have a responsibility to share public information as the law of the land specifies. You may want to make sure your own board is in order. In case you have not noticed Americans are insisting on a new level of openness and transparency from our government.

    These are my statements as an individual and not the statements of any little citizens group I may happen to be a member of………….and to anyone new to Bertie County, welcome and thanks for being here. I value your opinion and the fact that you care enough to share it.
    John Davis
    Merry Hill

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  • LisaBriley

    I applaud Mrs. Wise for being a concerned citizen. If she did not care about our county, she would not take the time to attend meetings, discuss the issues with other concerned citizens, and take a stand to better Bertie County. As to your assertion the Friends of Bertie does not consist of more than 25 people, at least 25 people attended a meeting in Kelford to hear from the FOB leadership. Many at this meeting proceeded to donate to the legal expenses of the FOB and to collect signatures to “Rescind the Raise”. I estimate that at least 100 people just in Roxobel signed the petition, thus showing their support of this “little” group. As to Zee Lamb’s leadership, you are entitled to your opinion, Mr. Parker. I disagree with the merits of his raise and the lack of transparency from the county commissioners. Lisa Briley, Roxobel

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