I want to express my deep disappointment by the decision the Town Board of Commissioners made tonight. I believe Mayor Byrne and the Board of Commissioners’ decision was a giant step backwards for the children of Fuquay Varina. The Town effectively approved what amounts to a hostile takeover of youth sports in Fuquay Varina. I also think the proceedings were orchestrated against the opponents of the measure.
While I concede that adequate time was given for public comment it was done at the wrong time in the proceedings. 22 individuals spoke passionately and eloquently in support of FVAA but were at a severe disadvantage because they were commenting against a proposal they had not had the opportunity to hear yet! When several people pointed this out, the Mayor informed them that they would get a chance to hear the proposal after the comments! What kind of sense does that make? The details of the Town’s proposal (or lack there of) where not sufficiently released before the meeting and, had the comment portion of the proceedings properly been allocated to after the proposal was heard, the commenters would have been able to offer an adequate rebuttal!
The whole proceeding seemed to be swayed against the opponents of the measure and in favor of the proponents. From the inadequate space for citizens to attend the meeting and poorly planned execution of the citizen comments portion, to the Mayor’s opening statements and multiple attempts to quell the citizens enthusiasm and support for the FVAA…the Town of Fuquay Varina and the Board of Commissioners clearly utilized their “Home Court Advantage” tonight. This is very saddening.
I knew the decision had pretty much been made before the proceedings started when the Mayor’s opening statement remarked about the millions of dollars that the Town has put into the recreational facilities. That told me that this whole discussion was about money, and had nothing to do with the wellbeing of our children, and that everyone’s mind was made up. He did not even make a comment about the wellbeing of our children until well over an hour into the proceedings! He showed more concern about the lack of a flagpole!
Thinly veiled allegations against the FVAA where made by certain Commissioners, while others chose not to participate in the discussion at all. I stood amongst hundreds of FVAA supporters on the Town Hall lawn tonight, under threat of rain, to voice my opposition to the Town’s ill-advised proposal. In a town like Fuquay, where I’m sure most of the Board meetings have absolutely no-one in attendance, it should have had some effect on the Mayor and the Board. It did not…it actually seemed to annoy the Mayor at several points. The Mayor tried to pay lip service to the FVAA at the end of the proceedings, commenting on how well they have performed over the years, after effectively presiding over its execution trial. That political rhetoric isn’t likely to be remembered come election time, let me assure you.
I believe the Mayor and the Board are wrong about how effectively the town can manage a program of this size…time will tell I suppose. I volunteer and support the FVAA in many ways (including as a coach). I will start looking for somewhere else for my kids to play sports and I know I am not alone.