Calls For High Point Voters To "Revolt"; Get Rid Of Council

Words like "revolt", "uprising" and "eliminate" are flying around the City of High Point as a council member and a local resident call on city leaders to be voted out.

"My definition of revolt in this case would be to have what I think is the silent majority to speak up. That's what I mean. They want to picket, come to council and raise their voices? That would be up to the masses," Clinard explained.

The comment follows controversy over a group the city council started in 2007 to help revitalize parts of High Point.

It's now a non-profit called City Project.

Monday, the council voted to take back the city employee who served full-time as the director. She was paid roughly $130,000 a year, which included benefits.

Councilman Wagner says the elimination of her position from City Project is a clear indication city leaders' don't understand the work City Project does.

He says the group has pursued what council tasked it to do in 2007 and has had many successes and the move limits progress.

"If we're going to have transformational change in High Point that the current city council in High Point doesn't have the courage to do it," Wagner said.

There's been tension on the council for quite a while: Mayor Bernita Sims was indicted on a felony charge for bouncing a large check, Councilman Foster Douglas owed $32,000 to the city for years and refused to pay and in general, council members have not agreed on several items that have come up for a vote.

But council member Jason Ewing says the move to take back the city employee was more of an efficient move to help in the larger goal to revitalize the city.

"It was unusual having a city paid employee acting as an executive director of a nonprofit. I'm sure there are a number of nonprofits throughout the city that would have their executive director's salary paid by the City of High Point," Ewing said.

He adds that there's been a perception that City Project only cares about the Uptowne neighborhood of High Point and not the other seven areas identified for revitalization.

He says the decision now means the former City Project director will become a city liaison to all nonprofits, including City Project, working to achieve the same goal.

Wagner voiced concern about how the council handled the decision.

He says a small group of council members decided to move forward with the vote without a courtesy notice to the board of volunteers who help run City Project.

On the night of the vote, the group had just met with council members and was across the street conducting a presentation about revitalization when the issue came up for a vote.

"I felt like it was underhanded and a deceitful action and they had the opportunity to do the right thing and at least notify the people that this was going to happen that particular night," Wagner said. He and another council member were the only two who voted against the move to remove the city employee from City Project.

Clinard, who is also a City Project board member (former chair) says the group has accomplished a lot in its 7 years.

Here is a list of efforts and accomplishments between 2007 and 2014 published by the group this year.

Clinard says the council's decision has gutted the program.


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