Robeson County suffers from an extraordinary number of maladies which negatively impact our quality of life. Race and culture, apathy toward our leadership and political process, lame educational system, attitude of dependency, high crime and property tax rates, littered roadways, obesity and diet, drug use, lack of jobs, and county commissioners with extra-ordinary benefits.
Hal Kinlaw was paid $1.6 million, the highest paid county attorney in the state, and not one county commissioner questioned the level of compensation in light of his financial woes. Misuse of government funds across many entities in the county appear to be the norm and are indicative of a lack of oversight. We hear of it weekly. If a sickness, what would the diagnosis be for what ails our county?
Is it a failure in leadership at the county and municipal levels of government, including the Lumbee Tribe? Do we have any positive leadership examples to show-case within our current leadership that are inspirational and an example to emulate?
For years our leadership has led our county down a road of increased dependency; to look outward with an expectation for “they” or “them” to resolve our issues which mostly come in the form of “financial benefits” while the leadership siphons a portion from insider trading. What then is the solution?
We as a citizenry take pride in the history our ancestors’ hard work, self-sufficiency, and sacrifice to succeed in an era where there were no safety nets. They sacrificed to pave the way for our future. Does that attitude prevail in our county today?
We, the citizens, need look no farther than the mirror. We must take action if we are to change the direction of our county. We can no longer afford to expect “them” or “they” to do it for us. More money is not the answer. We must begin to move away from a culture of dependency to one of self-sufficiency and hard work. We must set high expectations of our leadership and hold them accountable. We cannot shy away from this important responsibility because of feelings or other sensitivities. We must challenge our leadership and ask the “why question” and demand answers. We deserve governmental institutions free of malfeasance.
We have ctizens with the expertise and character to serve. Our challenge is to encourage and support them.
Lynn E. Locklear
Citizens for Integrity in Government