LAURINBURG — Some members of the Laurinburg City Council expressed displeasure this week with the bi-weekly column written by Mayor Matthew Block.
Block’s column, which appears on the editorial page of The Laurinburg Exchange, has been critical of the council’s decision to move ahead with a proposed new City Hall.
In the most recent column on June 15, Block accused the council of refusing to listen to city residents.
“Council’s reluctance to prioritize things that citizens ask for (recreation, more policing, lower utilities) while writing checks for things council alone wants such as new chambers and new polo shirts and windbreakers for themselves with taxpayer’s money has the mayor’s office thinking perhaps there is a serious learning disability at play here,” Block wrote.
Block also criticized the council for not including money in the budget for the Scotland County Arts Council that asked for $7,500 and the Scotland Humane Society that requested “a measly $5,000 increase.”
Laurinburg officials said they tabled the request so council could meet with the Arts Council next month to get more information. Council member Dee Hammond said Block would know that if he attended more budget workshops and meetings.
“I don’t think you have the privilege to comment about council’s decisions when you don’t attend the meetings because you don’t hear the whole conversation and the action behind council’s decision,” Hammond said at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
Hammond also said she wanted to Block to clarify that the opinions in his columns do not represent the council.
Council member Mary Jo Adams, agreed.
“Especially when the mayor is making comments about the Scotland County School Board and county commissioners and it is not something we have discussed as a council,” Adams said. “If there were some kind of disclaimer put on there, saying that is your opinion.”
In the June 15 column, Block gave the school board and commissioners failing grades in their responsibilities to residents.
“To the elected officials of this community, the mayor’s office — whose concern is not to ‘go along to get along’ — but to speak out for the betterment of Laurinburg and its citizens, asks you to do better,” Block wrote.
Block, who included the term “from the mayor’s office,” liberally throughout June 15 column, said there should be no confusion who he was speaking for.
“It’s called the mayor’s column, not the mayor and city council’s column. But I’ll make sure there is no misunderstanding.”