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While I may not live within the city limits of Walnut Cove, I still have a right to express my disagreement with Mr. Dearmin’s decision to fire Barry. The impact of his decision does not end at the city limits, it impacts our entire community. People from the surrounding community support the Town of Walnut Cove each and every time they spend their money in town. There are numerous Walnut Cove business leaders who do not live within the city limits. I am challenging everyone that is impacted by Mr. Dearmin’s decision to let the elected officials know how they feel. I believe that the first order of business for the next town meeting should be to fire Mr. Dearmin in order to save his “dignity”. The commissioners need to take a hard look at what has taken place. Mr. Dearmin has given himself the power of judge, jury and executioner in violation of state and federal law and has excluded the commissioners in the process. Mr. Dearmin has forgotten that he works at the pleasure of the board - that’s four commissioners and the mayor”. How is that only Mr. Dearmin and Mayor Hodgkin were aware of what was going on? If Mr. Dearmin does not follow the direction of the Commissioners and willfully refuses to consider their instructions and opinion on a matter as devastating to the town as terminating the police chief, then the commissioners have to ask themselves what else is he doing that they are unaware of and more importantly, how can they trust him in the future. Mr. Dearmin reports to the council, they are his superiors, and such insubordinate behavior is not acceptable in any manager-employee role and cannot be tolerated. The commissioners have the responsibility to look after the best interest of the town. The next thing that the commissioners should address is the Mayor’s role in this whole situation. Apparently the Mayor has forgotten his own role in council-manager form of government and is attempting to run the town under a “mayor-manager form of government.”
That being said, Barry Conaway is our son-in-law and the father of our grandchildren. Firing Barry was wrong. We respectfully request that the commissioners and citizens stand behind Barry in his request for reinstatement as police chief. Barry has provided the town and our community with unbeatable service throughout his career and what was done to him was not justified. Let’s fix a great injustice before any more damage is done.