this weeks edition:
End of an era…
I covered the unveiling of the new signs for the old Bank of Gassaway this morning with mixed emotions. From all I have discussed it with, Premier Bank seems to be a good fit for our community. Their commitment to local community banking certainly adds to the optimism. However, I couldn’t help but be a little sad.
The Bank of Gassaway has been a pillar of this community for over 100 years. Today was the first day in my life that there isn’t a Bank of Gassaway. People who often seemed larger than life represented the local financial institution. N.B. Hamric will be the name that comes to mind for most of those my age. Others walked in his footsteps with the same sence of commitment to their community that he did. That is what has made the Bank of Gassaway synonymous with the word bank for so many of us.
But… things do change and we must be optimistic. Regulations and requirements have been hard on small community banks. Frankly, the Bank of Gassaway would not have endured this long if it were not for people like N.B., Harry Wright, Dale Cox Joann Truman, Jim McQuain and of course John Heater.
While we won’t have the Bank of Gassaway we will have Premier and its network of community oriented banks. I hope we welcome them with open arms… they will be the future for our children and grandchildren.
Not the way it should be…
At last Friday’s County Commission meeting I was surprised to see Terry Frame participating by telephone. I had been told she was ill and on her way to the doctor. I am not a fan of participating by telephone in a public meeting. Doing the right thing is often difficult when everyone is in the same room, so being on the other end of a phone can really complicates matters. Yes, I know its legal, in most cases, but that doesn’t sway my opinion that it is not the best of circumstances.
Which brings me to one of the complications of such the practice. When the item on the agenda came up about Theran Hyre wanting to be reimbursed for a class and appointed County Medical Examiner, Terry Frame quickly pointed out that Theran was her son-in-law and she would not be voting on the matter. That was the right thing to do. Unfortunately, Terry nor the Commission president followed state code to the letter. Code says that when there is such a conflict, the member of the body must leave the room before any discussion or vote commences. That was not the case last Friday. Terry stayed on the phone during the discussion and even participated to some extent. We need to follow state code in cases like this for obvious reasons.
Such circumstances further influence my thinking on participation by electronic means should not become the norm. I understand that at least one Board of Education member uses this practice on a regular basis. There have been other reports of similar activity with governing bodies. Of course we all have lives and other obligations, no matter how dedicated a public servant might be. But I think that in most incidents, the public is better served if the decision making is left to those in the room who have full knowledge of who is there and what is going on.
Will return soon...