Accusations target Jernigan

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 9, 2008

GATESVILLE – Much to the dismay of one citizen, Kenneth Jernigan remains as a member of the Gates County Board of Commissioners.

At Monday’s meeting of the board, Roy Weaver of Gates called for Jernigan’s immediate resignation.

Speaking during the public input (late appearances) portion of the regularly scheduled meeting, Weaver accused Jernigan of “contracting or assisting a relative in building an addition on to his relative’s resident without the necessary building permit and related plans required in the form of (building) a deck.”

“This was a total shock,” Weaver read from a prepared statement, a copy of which he provided to the Gates County Index. “With his tenure (as a commissioner) long enough to be appointed Vice-Chairman (of the board), one would assume he was knowledgeable enough to enquire (sp) if a required building (permit) had been procured or was the timing planned right after the field reassessment and been made to have the addition completed, under the table so to speak, and tax free for the next eight years.”

Weaver went on to claim that the purpose of requiring building permits and employing a building inspector was to avoid substandard building practices in the county.

He also claimed that since the Gates County Building Inspector had been notified of the situation, the necessary permits had been obtained and a penalty had been assessed.

Weaver added that the inspector had been to the property in question on three occasions and “failed to approve the addition, thus costing the county extra due to $4 a gallon for gas.”

“By getting yourself involved in a building project completely against the building code, costing the builder much embarrassment and to pay not only the permit fee in addition to paying a penalty, I personally, along with many taxpayers, call for your immediate resignation as a Commissioner,” Weaver said. “You sir have disgraced the trust and the position that many before you have strived to build upon. The old saying that ‘one bad apple will spoil the entire barrel’ is ever so true.”

At the end of his prepared statement, Weaver wrote, “You have 72 hours to make me personally aware of your (Jernigan’s) decision or I shall do my best to employ other brother Freemasons in the SBI.”

Jernigan chose not to verbally respond to Weaver’s accusations. Instead, he asked Board Chairman J.S. Pierce to summon Edgar Mitchell, Gates County’s Chief Building Inspector, to the podium.

Mitchell informed the board that Jernigan was not building on his property, rather he was assisting an individual. That individual, who was not identified, was reported by Weaver and Mitchell contacted the individual about the situation.

“The guy came in the next day and got a building permit and paid the ($100) penalty,” Mitchell reported.

Mitchell added that the work being performed was a deck around a pool. As far as failing any subsequent inspections, Mitchell said that was not true. He said there was an issue about adding some hand rails on the deck, a project that has been completed.

At the close of Mitchell’s statement, Commissioner Carlton Nickens asked if the property in question belonged to Commissioner Jernigan, to which Mitchell answered “no.” Nickens also inquired was it Commissioner Jernigan’s responsibility to obtain a building permit on property he does not own. Mitchell answered “no.”

No further discussion was heard on the issue.