"...[Brenda Jones Fox] said the new position should be beneficial to the county.
"Hopefully this will make us a lot more efficient..." Fox added.
...[Billy] Yow...asked Fox: "With the state of the economy, laying people off, is this the right time to fill this position?"
"I think it is," Fox said.
Guilford County Commissioner Kirk Perkins said Arnold had every right to apply for the new job, and he said that, if Arnold does get the job, he had no doubt that would have only happened at the conclusion of a fair hiring process.
...It is true that Arnold would have to go through the same process as any other applicant before the decision of who to hire was made by Fox, one of his closest friends who he's backed doggedly through the years in many political battles.
Alston has said publicly that he backs Fox's decision to fill the position now – saying that having someone in that role could more than pay for the salary by savings in construction costs due to added oversight, and by saving the county money in other ways because it could operate more efficiently. "
"Before: Commissioner Carolyn Coleman ...said that while she thought Arnold should have the same right to apply as any other candidate
After: “I think it alleviates a lot of potential problems for county government,” said Commissioner Carolyn Coleman. “Just in terms of what it would look like, I think it’s probably best.”
When Arnold was asked if accepting a job created by one of his employees just as he left office would be unethical, he said he couldn’t answer.
“The argument, at this point, is irrelevant,” he said. “I may or may not decide to apply, and I may or may not make it through the process. No one knows what is going to happen in the future, including me.”
...Commissioner Bruce Davis, who is running for state Senate, declined to comment...
“Now wouldn’t be a good time,” he said...
Commissioners Mike Winstead and Kirk Perkins did not return calls for comment...
Commissioners Chairman Melvin “Skip” Alston and Commissioner Linda Shaw both said Arnold should be allowed to apply and should be chosen if he’s the best candidate.
“How can we say that just because he’s been a commissioner he shouldn’t apply for a job?” Shaw said.
Commissioner Linda Shaw said she trusts the manager to know when a position needs to be filled and to fill it with the best applicant. She said Arnold should be allowed to apply and, if he's the best applicant, he should get the job. "Nobody knows the county better than Steve, I'll tell you that," she said. "He knows everything and everybody."
Commissioner Chairman Melvin "Skip" Alston says he trusts the manager if she says the position is needed. Arnold should be allowed to apply and be judged on his merits, Alston said. His history as a commissioner — and his history with Fox — should not play into the decision.
Cashion said Arnold has the right to apply, but she said Fox needs to consider public perception when filling the job.
“I would think that when the decision is made the public perception will have to be taken into consideration,” Cashion said. “It can’t look like it’s a done deal before there is a deal.” "