Robesonian

Cummings eyes another grab for power

Chairman Cummings, we knew Jimmy Goins. We worked with Jimmy Goins. And you, Mr. Chairman, are no Jimmy Goins.

Raymond Cummings, the chairman of the Robeson County Board of Commissioners, in announcing last week that he now wants to be chairman of the Lumbee Tribal Government — while, predictably, remaining on the county board — implicitly claimed the endorsement of the late Goins, who served as tribal chairman from 2004 to 2010. Goins was killed in a car accident in 2015, so he can’t speak up.

We recall Goins as being a selfless leader of the Lumbee, someone who worked tirelessly on their behalf, not using his position to the benefit of himself, family and friends.

Cummings is, well, different.

Cummings made his announcement in a remarkably self-indulgent press release, even by his own lofty standards, in which he said he would not be “devisive,” and asked for prayers — as well as campaign donations. No kidding, he really did.

He also copped to having “made mistakes” as an elected official, though he didn’t itemize. Allow us to fill in the blanks, although space forbids a comprehensive catalog.

Was it a mistake, Mr. Chairman, to be the chief architect of the pay and benefits package that the commissioners enjoy that is the best in the state? Is it a mistake, Mr. Chairman, to drive around doing the county’s business in a school-issued car while also collecting a $700 stipend each month from the county for travel expenses?

Was it a mistake, Mr. Chairman, as a commissioner of a board that spends taxpayer dollars, to be delinquent paying yours, doing so only after we informed you that to do otherwise would result in a page 1 story, and then later using your mother’s death as an excuse for your tardiness?

Was it a mistake, Mr. Chairman, to use your position as chairman of the board of the Department of Social Services to influence hiring decisions, and also pitch such a tantrum there that you had to exit the board under threat of a lawsuit? And is it a mistake to be trying now to grab control of hiring at Robeson Community College?

Was it a mistake, Mr. Chairman, when a relative of yours did contract work for the Robeson County Housing Authority as you sat on the board, which was a conflict of interest, and part of the reason the local authority had to repay HUD hundreds of thousands of dollars that otherwise would have helped needy people with housing?

Was it a mistake, Mr. Chairman, when as an employee of the Public School of Robeson County, you not only didn’t recuse yourself from the conversation, but pushed the hardest for the purchase of the Angel Exchange building for use as the central office, doing so while telling blantant lies and as your employers were saying no thanks? Was it a mistake to make that motion to buy when it was a non-agenda item, meaning no one was aware, and while a commissioner you knew would stand against was absent?

Was it a mistake, Mr. Chairman, when you worked to elect as sheriff a person who was a known perjurer and deemed unfit to be a law enforcement officer by an investigator with the Department of Justice?

This is just the stuff within easy sight. We are sure there is more than remains hidden.

Cummings, because he isn’t bothered by such things, doesn’t understand what is apparent to clear-minded people, that serving as chairman of the Robeson County Board of Commissioners, which governs for 135,000 people, and being chairman of the Lumbee Tribal Government, which governs for 50,000-plus, 90 percent of them living in this county, is an inherent conflict of interest.

What Cummings really wants isn’t another chairmanship, but is to be king, and to possess the ability to get his hands on millions of dollars of HUD money to do with as he pleases. And he expects people to trust him with that?

We will see in November if he has been mistaken in his belief the Lumbee people aren’t as tired of his shenanigans as the rest of us.