Robesonian

Fairmont hires finance officer, 2 police officers

FAIRMONT — The town of Fairmont welcomed three new employees Tuesday: a finance officer and two police officers.

New finance officer, Denise Whitley, is an Orrum High School and Francis Marion University graduate. She majored in accounting and worked at the university for the past 11 years. Whitley started her new job on July 3.

Fairmont got one rookie officer and a veteran for its police department. Donte Locklear will begin his police career in Fairmont, and Darren Davis is a 17-year veteran of the Maxton Police Department.

Davis will serve as a captain on the Fairmont force, Police Chief Jon Edwards said.

“We’re pleased to have a new police officer and a veteran,” Edwards said. “They will be good additions to the force.”

Mayor Charles Townsend welcomed the new employees.

“You’ve just joined a great team,” he said.

The commissioners heard an update on Camp for Heroes from John Woodall. The 2-year-old camp dedicated to helping wounded veterans, firefighters, police, first responders and their families is located on 184 acres outside Fairmont on Zimp Road.

“We’re doing everything we can to turn lives around,” said Woodall, a retired firefighter. “We’ve got $1 million invested in the property, and we’ll need more.”

A wellness center is the next camp project, he said. The project to help veterans began 17 years ago with 911 and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Woodall said he is not on a fundraising mission.

“I started the camp two years ago, and I do not bug people about money,” he said. “I don’t care where it comes from, but we’re going to build a camp.”

An otherwise brief and polite session turned sour after Commissioner Charles Kemp asked the board to target three homes for demolition, including one at Holly and Pine streets.

“The home burned several years ago and is overgrown with vegetation and is home to vermin,” Kemp said. “It is a pickup and drop-off site for school children.”

The town has a small budget for demolition of structures. A motion to have the town pay to tear down the house was defeated after heated debate.

“If this is a private residence that has burned, the owner should come up with the money,” Commissioner Monte McCallum said. “The town owned the other buildings that were taken down last year.”

Commissioner Terry Evans said there are homes that have needed demolition for 15 or 20 years.

“I’m all for demolition,” Evans said. “But let’s not let the genie out of the bottle.”

After the exchange and the defeat of his motion, Kemp fired back.

“They did not let me finish,” he said. “I am going to ask the homeowner what she can pay towards the demolition.

“I plan to bring this issue back on the August agenda.”

That meeting will be on Aug. 21.

Mayor Townsend told the commissioners that the town bought a bus for senior citizen and youth transportation. The cost was $5,500, and it is being serviced.

Town leaders also agreed Tuesday to sell a building at 603 S. Main St. to Stanley Stephens for $6,000. Stephens wants to renovate the building and run a window installation business out of it.

Fairmont Town Clerk Jennifer Larson, right, reads the oath of office on Tuesday to Denise Whitley, the town’s new finance officer, while Whitley’s husband, Terry, holds the Bible.
https://www.robesonian.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/web1_Fairmont_1-1.jpgFairmont Town Clerk Jennifer Larson, right, reads the oath of office on Tuesday to Denise Whitley, the town’s new finance officer, while Whitley’s husband, Terry, holds the Bible.
Whitley
https://www.robesonian.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/web1_Whitley_2-1.jpgWhitley

By Scott Bigelow

Staff writer

Reach Scott Bigelow can be reached at 910-644-4497 or bigelow@yahoo.com.