August 8, 2018
Jasmine Beach-Ferrara: firstname.lastname@example.org
Yesterday, a new indictment was filed relating to allegations of fraud, bribes, and kickbacks against former county manager Wanda Greene and now two additional former Buncombe County officials, Mandy Stone and Jon Creighton. What has been alleged in a series of federal indictments shocks the conscience and amounts to a gross abuse of power and public trust. These individuals deserve due process, and we must treat these as allegations, not proven fact. But we must also address the substance of allegations against them and understand the broader narrative they reveal: what happened was not the work of a single corrupt official; it was a culture of corruption and we do not yet know how far it extended. The federal investigation continues and as the latest indictment makes clear, it is possible that there will be more indictments against other individuals.
Today, I’m writing this statement as an individual County Commissioner because I feel an obligation and a responsibility to communicate directly with our community and the district I represent. You are owed answers and accountability. In sharing my analysis, I do not propose to have all the answers. I believe that collectively, we as a community working together will find solutions that no one of us will find on our own through this crisis.
Your County Commission has a responsibility to serve you through this crisis. Buncombe County Commission brings together seven individuals who love our community, have different perspectives on some issues, and have found alignment on other issues like expanding access to Pre-K and responding to the opioid crisis. I have respect and appreciation for fellow Commissioners and believe that the differences in approach and leadership style that distinguish us individually combine to create a stronger governing body.
Some steps have been taken the course of the year, but there is more that we can do at the level of County Commission to protect Buncombe County’s integrity. As we face this ongoing crisis, we must respond with action measures and it is past time for comprehensive reforms. This is a crisis and we must continue working to repair public trust and to put proactive reforms into place to ensure that every tax dollar is spent appropriately and that the county focuses on its singular mission to serve our community.
These are specific actions I advocate for and status reports on areas where steps have been taken in the past year:
I believe we must move through this crisis with accountability and humility. I am accountable to every decision I’ve made as a Commissioner. The investigation is not over, and until we have a full knowledge of the facts, we must understand that there are things we do not know.
This conversation needs to happen at the community level. From 9 - 10:30 AM tomorrow, I’ll be at Penny Cup Coffee downtown at 39 S. Market Street. If you can make it, I’d love to see you there to hear your ideas, listen, and answer any questions I can.
Together, I believe we can find solutions to this crisis and work together to create a system of local government that reflects the integrity and character of the people of Buncombe County. I am committed to moving forward through this crisis with the same values that led me to serve as Commissioner. I am here to work for you.