Some Tough Questions For Munger and the Slate

I’m not sure which caption would work best with this photo – “We’re Totally Not a Slate,” or “Don’t Ask Us Any Tough Questions.” One tough question an interested voter might ask, “Do all members of the Blank Slate support political violence against opponents or just Mr. Munger?” Here’s another tough question an interested voter might ask, “How can you call yourself a “supporter of law enforcement” with an Antifa supporter on your slate?” To be fair, I didn’t ask whether a candidate was an Antifa supporter on my questionnaire. [Note to self: on 2021 questionnaire, ask candidates if they support domestic terrorism.]

Mr. Munger isn’t shy about his left wing political positions and he was still welcomed onto the slate. He was a candidate for town board in 2017 and has been campaigning ever since the last election and yet his social media feeds are almost entirely devoted to national political issues, not Huntersville issues. Here’s another tough question an interested voter could ask Mr. Munger, “Are you running because you want to make a difference locally or because you want to bring national Democratic politics to Huntersville?”

Another tough question voters should be asking any candidate, like Mr. Munger, campaigning on “revitalizing downtown” is what that actually means? It definitely doesn’t mean using their own money to invest in downtown. To me, it sounds like a polite way of saying I will use government force to take your property and have it put to a use that I approve of using other people’s money.

Does Huntersville really want to elect someone who is “interested” in attending an Antifa rally? Next time you see the slate out campaigning (unless it’s at one of the private house parties you weren’t invited to), make sure you ask them if they support Antifa too.

Eric

2019 Huntersville Candidate Questionnaires – John Aneralla

I emailed the following questionnaire to every town board candidate in Huntersville a month ago in an effort to provide voters with more insight into each candidacy. There was no word limit for responses. Only three candidates returned the questionnaire by the deadline (and one late entry from Mayor Aneralla): Dan Boone, Stacy Phillips, and Brian Hines. I am definitely not an undecided voter and there’s little doubt which candidates I could or do support, but this questionnaire was intended to benefit the hundreds of other voters in the Huntersville Politics group who are still undecided and who don’t know the candidates/issues as well, so it’s disappointing more candidates didn’t participate.

Election day is Tuesday, November 5. If you need more information about local elections, you can visit the Mecklenburg Board of Elections website here.

Eric


– A specific agenda item you want to work on if elected:  I want to continue to accelerate the town’s infrastructure projects (roads, sidewalks & greenways) to complement the over $550 million worth of local, state and federal road projects.

 

– For incumbents – any vote over the last two years you would change and why – or, if none, any item you wish you the board would have accomplished and why:  The hiring of a full-time town attorney sooner than we did. The new attorney has reviewed and updated many procedures and contracts benefiting both the town and its citizens.

 

– What is the proper role of town government and do you think there is any limit to what town government can use taxpayer dollars for:  The role of town government is determined by State statute, which a town should adhere to and not stray away from. Towns get into trouble for example when they buy bankrupt cable companies and try to compete with the private sector.

 

– If you are running on an anti-growth platform, how do you intend to legally halt or slow down growth in Huntersville? Be specific.:

 

– If not running on an anti-growth platform, how do you plan to deal with growth challenges if elected?:  Allowing for a wide variety of housing options balanced with commercial development should be the goal of town government. Updating the 2030 community plan will help direct the town staff, developers and elected officials well into the future.

 

– Should town government select winners and losers in business by providing tax incentives/tax rebates to certain companies over others:  In general, I am against any type of incentives given to one company over another. It should be government’s goal to keep taxes low combined with common sense regulations to create a positive environment for all businesses to flourish.

Only under VERY rare circumstances should government offer tax incentives to a business. A good example of this is when BMW received tax incentives to locate to the Greenville-Spartanburg area of South Carolina. BMW’s presence in the area brought in related businesses and suppliers that transformed the area from the dying textile industry to a high-tech manufacturing destination.

 

– Are you hoping to benefit yourself personally if elected? If yes, explain. If no, one example of prioritizing Huntersville over your own self-interests:  No, I only own my home and do not have any business interests in Huntersville.

 

– If elected, is it more important to you to vote the will of the people (however that is determined) or to vote your conscience (except when the board is acting as a quasi-judicial body):  An elected official should always vote their conscience after considering all sides of an issue and be able to articulate why he or she voted in the way they did.

 

– Does the town need to do more to ensure transparency and accountability in its departments, including the use of independent, professional audits?:  The town has a financial audit every year. In addition, with a new town manager and town attorney in place over the past 15 months, many areas of town government have been scrutinized internally and with assistance from outside professionals.

 

– Do you support the public education status quo in Huntersville?:  I think Huntersville should continue to pursue all options proposed by the Huntersville Education Option Study Commission to ensure excellent education options for all children in the town.

 

– Cats or Dogs (or Chickens)?:  Dog

 

– Best place to get pizza in or around Huntersville:  I grew up in a family with a pizza restaurant, so pizza is one of my favorite foods. Fortunately, in Huntersville we have many great pizza establishments!

 

– Your favorite 19th century French political economist:

 

– Person/group most responsible for influencing your political views?:  My dad. He taught the value of hard work and not relying on government to be successful.

 

– How can readers find out more about your campaign? (social media, website)?:

www.electjohnaneralla.com

704-895-0586

2019 Huntersville Candidate Questionnaires – Brian Hines

I emailed the following questionnaire to every town board candidate in Huntersville a month ago in an effort to provide voters with more insight into each candidacy. There was no word limit for responses. Only three candidates returned the questionnaire by Friday’s deadline (and one late entry from Mayor Aneralla): Dan Boone, Stacy Phillips, and Brian Hines. I am definitely not an undecided voter and there’s little doubt which candidates I could or do support, but this questionnaire was intended to benefit the hundreds of other voters in the Huntersville Politics group who are still undecided and who don’t know the candidates/issues as well, so it’s disappointing more candidates didn’t participate.

Election day is Tuesday, November 5. If you need more information about local elections, you can visit the Mecklenburg Board of Elections website here.

Eric


– A specific agenda item you want to work on if elected:  Town being more Proactive in getting things accomplished whether its road improvements, greenways or economic development.

 

– For incumbents – any vote over the last two years you would change and why – or, if none, any item you wish you the board would have accomplished and why:  I put a lot of time and effort into researching and understanding the issues at hand so when it comes time to vote I am very confident that my vote is what’s best for the town. So there is not a decision that I recall that I would reverse.

 

– What is the proper role of town government and do you think there is any limit to what town government can use taxpayer dollars for:  Provide community local services such as Police and Fire Protection, land use regulations, public recreation facilities, waste collection and maintenance of town owned roads to name a few.

 

– If you are running on an anti-growth platform, how do you intend to legally halt or slow down growth in Huntersville? Be specific.:

 

– If not running on an anti-growth platform, how do you plan to deal with growth challenges if elected?:  We live in a fantastic area and due to our proximity to Charlotte we are experiencing and will continue to see growth. Every project that comes in the door has to be viewed independently of others and decided on if in the best interest of the town at that time.

 

– Should town government select winners and losers in business by providing tax incentives/tax rebates to certain companies over others:  When the Town appropriated $1,300,000 for the improvement and expansion of Patterson Road in order to entice a German company to locate their North American HQ in Huntersville it was a win for the residents of Huntersville. By our proactive approach to increasing our commercial tax base we also made that area more attractive for new commercial development. My understanding is the other land is under contract and the total investment in Huntersville, all because we built the road, will be north of $80,000,000. That is a win/win scenario.

 

– Are you hoping to benefit yourself personally if elected? If yes, explain. If no, one example of prioritizing Huntersville over your own self-interests:  It is my observation that every person running has good intentions in wanting to serve the community. I have not met anyone on the local level that does this for selfish gain.

 

– If elected, is it more important to you to vote the will of the people (however that is determined) or to vote your conscience (except when the board is acting as a quasi-judicial body):  Every vote I consider what is the best for the community, while also recognizing that not everyone is going to be happen with my position.

 

– Does the town need to do more to ensure transparency and accountability in its departments, including the use of independent, professional audits?:  We have a great Town staff who are transparent and are held accountable.

 

– Do you support the public education status quo in Huntersville?:  We formed the Huntersville Education Opportunity Study Commission to look into what, if anything, we can do to provide additional school options for our residents.

 

– Cats or Dogs (or Chickens)?:

 

– Best place to get pizza in or around Huntersville:

 

– Your favorite 19th century French political economist:

 

– Person/group most responsible for influencing your political views?:

 

– How can readers find out more about your campaign? (social media, website)?:

www.electbrianhines.com

FB – @electbrianhines

704-949-0171

2019 Huntersville Candidate Questionnaires – Stacy Phillips

I emailed the following questionnaire to every town board candidate in Huntersville a month ago in an effort to provide voters with more insight into each candidacy. There was no word limit for responses. Only three candidates returned the questionnaire by Friday’s deadline (and one late entry from Mayor Aneralla): Dan Boone, Stacy Phillips, and Brian Hines. I am definitely not an undecided voter and there’s little doubt which candidates I could or do support, but this questionnaire was intended to benefit the hundreds of other voters in the Huntersville Politics group who are still undecided and who don’t know the candidates/issues as well, so it’s disappointing more candidates didn’t participate.

Election day is Tuesday, November 5. If you need more information about local elections, you can visit the Mecklenburg Board of Elections website here.

Eric


– A specific agenda item you want to work on if elected:  We need a magistrate in Huntersville.  Our town has over 56,000 residents and growing. It is almost a 16-mile drive one way from the Huntersville Police Department to the Mecklenburg County Courthouse where our magistrates are housed. Our law enforcements’ time matters. A domestic violence victim’s time matters. By having a Magistrate in Huntersville, it will help keep our town safer.

 

– For challengers – one specific vote over the last two years you disagreed with and why:  “Town of Huntersville Public Records Fee” was on the 9/16/19 agenda. After backlash from the public who thought it was terrible to charge citizens a fee for public records, the item was removed from the agenda and never discussed. While it felt like a small victory for transparency, I wish this measure had been voted upon so we knew where the commissioners stood. After the new board is sworn in, this measure could resurface and infringe on our rights. If I am elected I would always oppose such measures.

 

– What is the proper role of town government and do you think there is any limit to what town government can use taxpayer dollars for:  The proper role of town government is to help the town run smoother and stay the course of long term success. I believe that the town government should be a good steward of tax dollars and be cautious and mindful how money is spent, because it belongs to the citizens.

 

– If not running on an anti-growth platform, how do you plan to deal with growth challenges if elected?:  Huntersville is growing and will continue to grow.  We need to be focused on being a town that is a great place to live and work and avoid becoming a commuter town where people live here, but shop and work in other towns.  Huntersville needs to be proactive in being business friendly, but not just to large corporations, we need to treat small businesses with as much enthusiasm as the big companies, because this will help Huntersville keep its charm.

 

– Should town government select winners and losers in business by providing tax incentives/tax rebates to certain companies over others:  Absolutely not. As I mentioned above, we need to treat small businesses as well as we treat the large companies. Instead of providing tax incentives, we should streamline the planning process, which would save companies (large or small) money and help them reach their goals quicker. 

 

– Are you hoping to benefit yourself personally if elected? If yes, explain. If no, one example of prioritizing Huntersville over your own self-interests:  If elected I must bring on help at my business to cover the hours I can’t work and take a loss in getting paid myself. However, I love this town and I want to ensure that we go the right path so citizens don’t get priced out of living here and all citizens know that they have an ear that will truly listen and fight for them.

 

– If elected, is it more important to you to vote the will of the people (however that is determined) or to vote your conscience (except when the board is acting as a quasi-judicial body):  I think it’s more important to do both. However, I would never take any vote lightly, never dismiss the input of citizens, and would always put Huntersville first. 

 

– Does the town need to do more to ensure transparency and accountability in its departments, including the use of independent, professional audits?:  A happy government is a transparent government. I don’t think audits are a bad thing and I see them as a way to build a trusting relationship between the citizens and government, while we can also hone our budget needs and remediate any issues that may service. 

 

– Do you support the public education status quo in Huntersville?:  I support children getting whatever options best fit their educational needs.  I don’t think it is the place of the government to dictate to a parent/guardian what is best for their child, especially when it comes to something as critical as their education, because that will shape the child’s life forever.  I am open to all options out there that give children the best education they deserve, because educational needs are not a “one size fits all” situation.

 

– Cats or Dogs (or Chickens)?:  I have all three.  I am not picking sides on this one. 

 

– Best place to get pizza in or around Huntersville:  Mama’s eggplant parm pizza is amazing.  Rocky’s has the best cheese pizza.  Romanello’s chicken ranch is great.  I think Huntersville might be on our way to being a pizza destination.

 

– Your favorite 19th century French political economist:  Bastiat?

 

– Person/group most responsible for influencing your political views?:  Mister Rogers.  Which probably just got some major eye rolls, but in all seriousness, I live my life trying to be the neighbor Mister Rogers wanted me to be.  I believe if we can respect those that are different from us and listen to each other, we can actually accomplish a lot for our community.  It comes down to caring about the people in the community and doing what is best for our neighbors above anything else.

 

– How can readers find out more about your campaign? (social media, website)?:

Facebook.com/ElectStacyPhillips

www.electstacyphillips.com

2019 Huntersville Candidate Questionnaires – Dan Boone

I emailed the following questionnaire to every town board candidate in Huntersville a month ago in an effort to provide voters with more insight into each candidacy. There was no word limit for responses. Only three candidates returned the questionnaire by Friday’s deadline: Dan Boone, Stacy Phillips, and Brian Hines. I am definitely not an undecided voter and there’s little doubt which candidates I could or do support, but this questionnaire was intended to benefit the hundreds of other voters in the Huntersville Politics group who are still undecided and who don’t know the candidates/issues as well, so it’s disappointing more candidates didn’t participate.

Election day is Tuesday, November 5. If you need more information about local elections, you can visit the Mecklenburg Board of Elections website here.

Eric


– A specific agenda item you want to work on if elected:

 

– For incumbents – any vote over the last two years you would change and why – or, if none, any item you wish you the board would have accomplished and why:  I voted against district representation and term limits, because I am strongly opposed to district representation and believe it would pit different areas of our town against each other. It was a tough vote because I am a proponent of term limits. I wish this had been broken up into two different motions so we would have had the opportunity to cast an up or down vote on term limits. I will continue to work to implement term limits at the town level.

 

– What is the proper role of town government and do you think there is any limit to what town government can use taxpayer dollars for:  North Carolina is a Dillon Rule state which means the role of Huntersville’s town government (and the role of all town governments in NC) and what town government can use taxpayer dollars for is already defined and limited by state law. We may only take on the roles and powers and perform tasks expressly granted to us by state law or “fairly implied by the expressed power in the statute.”  Key roles granted to municipalities include public safety (police and fire protection, etc.), providing certain services to citizens such as trash pick-up, building and maintaining town streets and roads, planning and zoning, enacting local ordinances to protect the public good as long as they do not conflict with state law, providing parks and recreational opportunities for residents, and the ability to levy certain taxes and fees on citizens to pay for the roles we fill. I believe that we should closely adhere to Dillon’s rule and to state law. It is a much-needed limitation on the powers of local government.

 

– If you are running on an anti-growth platform, how do you intend to legally halt or slow down growth in Huntersville? Be specific.:  I am not running on an anti-growth platform.

 

– If not running on an anti-growth platform, how do you plan to deal with growth challenges if elected?  I will continue to carefully enforce our existing planning and zoning regulations as well as take more actions to ensure that developers are required to do more to mitigate the challenges growth brings to our town (like we did when we changed the Traffic Impact Analysis ordinance). I will also continue to listen carefully to the concerns of all residents and businesses and respond to those concerns. Huntersville will continue to grow but it must do so in way that is planned, responsible and doesn’t reduce the high quality of life we enjoy here.

 

– Should town government select winners and losers in business by providing tax incentives/tax rebates to certain companies over others?:  I personally strongly dislike tax incentives and wish that no one is allowed to use them. I do not believe that town government should be in the business of selecting winners and losers. Incentives also take tax dollars from our small businesses and give them to big businesses that compete directly with our small businesses. This is fundamentally unfair. That is why I have consistently voted against all incentives during my tenure as a Town Commissioner.

I believe that we should focus just as much on creating a business-friendly atmosphere that encourages our existing businesses to expand, grow and create jobs as we do on recruiting new business to town. We can do this by continuing to eliminate overly burdensome regulations, keeping our tax rate low, tackling the traffic challenges we face, keeping our community safe, and ensuring the infrastructure is in place to support their growth and expansion.

 

– Are you hoping to benefit yourself personally if elected? If yes, explain. If no, one example of prioritizing Huntersville over your own self-interests:  I am not hoping to benefit personally if elected. I am retired and view serving on this board as an opportunity to give back to a community that has given so much to me and is so special to me. As a board member, I do not look at issues in context of what is best for me, but in the context of what is morally right and what is best for our town and its residents as a whole. I prioritize Huntersville over my own self-interest by freely volunteering to serve our town on various boards and through various civic, charitable, and religious organizations.

 

– If elected, is it more important to you to vote the will of the people (however that is determined) or to vote your conscience (except when the board is acting as a quasi-judicial body):  I believe that I was elected to represent the citizens of Huntersville and that I work for them. They are my bosses. Whenever the will of the people is not in conflict with my conscience then I will vote the will of the people. When the will of the people conflicts with my conscience, I will explain to our citizens the concerns I have and work to try to come up with a solution or compromise that can reconcile the will of the people with my conscience? If that is not possible then I will follow my conscience and do what I believe is right for our town and its citizens.

 

– Does the town need to do more to ensure transparency and accountability in its departments, including the use of independent, professional audits?:  Yes, I believe more transparency and accountability is important at all levels of government which is why during my four years as a town commissioner I’ve worked hard to make town government more transparent.

 

– Do you support the public education status quo in Huntersville?:  I do not support the public education status quo in Huntersville. I was a strong supporter of a possible municipal charter school. We need to have this option in the town’s tool box to help protect over crowding in CMS schools.

 

– Cats or Dogs (or Chickens)?:  Dogs, especially my campaign mascot Max.

 

– Best place to get pizza in or around Huntersville:  My refrigerator!  I love day old left over pizza.

 

– Your favorite 19th century French political economist: Frederic Bastiat for his developing the concept of opportunity cost, for his pamphlet The Law, and for providing the economic beliefs and theories that serve as the foundation for the Austrian school of economics.

 

– Person/group most responsible for influencing your political views?:  My parents influenced my political views.  From my Mother, “we don’t unwrap gifts unless they are paid for.”  From my Father, “you might not respect the man, but you will respect the rank.”

 

– How can readers find out more about your campaign? (social media, website)?

www.BooneForHuntersville.com

www.facebook.com/DanBooneHuntersville

Email me at: danboonenc@aol.com

HPD Chief Openly Defies Town Manager

Over the past weekend I saw that the Huntersville Police Department (“HPD”) was yet again using town resources to promote a private business – this time, HPD is promoting an Arizona based security company, The Knox Company, that sells rapid entry security boxes (a little safe that holds keys that only fire/police are supposed to be able to access so they don’t have to break your door down in case of an emergency) for the exterior of homes and businesses. The promotion can be found at the bottom of a registration page for an upcoming active shooter training HPD is hosting. I sent an email Saturday morning to the town manager and HPD Chief Bence Hoyle pointing out that HPD is yet again using town resources to promote a private business even after the town manager had emailed a Manager’s Directive to all town employees just two months ago on June 10 (after it was brought to the town manager’s attention that HPD was promoting a local gym and hosting a local CPA at HPD HQ for a seminar) telling all town employees to stop independently promoting private businesses using town resources unless such a promotion/advertisement had been referred to HR first so a bid process or request for proposals could be initiated related to the service or product.

Below is the email response I received from Chief Hoyle at 1:14 AM (yes, AM) Sunday morning.

I authorized it and have advised them to continue. It saves lives by allowing first responders to get into a dwelling faster. We have specific keys to those boxes and when we see those boxes we know how to get in without destroying things. CMPD, Huntersville Fire, and CMS use them as well. 

We partner with many vendors to improve lives and yes it is profitable for some Im sure. But we cannot work without our partners and we will continue to do so. We have stopped promoting golf tournaments because you didnt like it even though they were NOT for profit, and we will jump through hoops for partners that may only benefit a few, but when it comes to saving lives we will partner without hesitation. Citizens have a choice to use them or not, but you cannot expect an public private partnership to be one sided. Sue us and let the courts decide but i think it legal, justified, and a good thing for the community. 

The chief’s email speaks for itself, but I have a few thoughts.

His response not only makes clear he authorized the promotion of a private company in violation of the town manager’s directive, but that he intends to continue to do so in the future without hesitation when it comes to saving lives. (The chief provides no evidence of any lives in Huntersville being saved by a Knox product or any similar product.) This level of open defiance of a superior’s orders would never be tolerated if a lower ranking HPD officer or subordinate town staff member did the same thing. But, the chief is able to get away with such insubordination because he is an unelected bureaucrat with no fear of being disciplined because of his long-standing relationship with the town manager.

The chief’s citing of other agencies that use this product has nothing to do with his direct violation of the town manager’s directive. I didn’t question the use of this product in my email, I simply pointed out that promoting the product using town resources was wrong. This product is not unique – a quick online search for “commercial key box” brings up numerous other similar products designed by many of the top security brands in the country, many of which are far less expensive than the Knox version, so how did HPD decide to promote this brand over all others? (The models being pushed by HPD are between approx. $250-$320.) I shouldn’t have to point out to the chief that just because other agencies do something, doesn’t mean HPD needs to do it too – if CMPD jumped off an I-77 overpass would HPD jump off an overpass too?? Funny thing, he doesn’t list Cornelius PD as another agency using this product even though he was the chief there for over a decade.

The chief failed to provide any details about who else HPD partners with “to improve lives” and who is it profitable for and how much profit is being made, but this is information the town manager and town board should require the chief provide. Again, I didn’t question the practice of partnerships that work to reduce crime in Huntersville, I questioned the practice of using taxpayer resources to show preferential treatment by actively promoting specific private businesses to the exclusion of all others in violation of the town manager’s directive.

No, chief, HPD didn’t stop using HPD email to promote golf tournaments because I didn’t like it – the practice was stopped for two reasons: a) it was just plain wrong to use town resources to promote a golf tournament that was in no way related to Huntersville or HPD with an entry fee of $175 and no details on where the money goes, and b) the officer responsible for promoting said golf tournaments who is also a member of a NC LLC that runs a weekly cash golf league at Birkdale recently “resigned” from HPD and I’m guessing the rest of your officers have actual police work to keep them busy while on duty instead of sending emails about golf.

New chief, same as the old chief. Still hiding behind “saving lives” as a blanket justification for any action/expenditure without any evidence of any lives being saved by whatever action/expenditure is being pushed. No different than the prior chief using the same justification to waste taxpayer dollars on an armored vehicle that sits in a storage bay all year until it gets brought out for display only at National Night Out and a handful of other public events.

Maybe someone can help explain to me why exactly the town manager had to have this one individual as his chief of police and couldn’t even be bothered to do a national search, much less a regional search, for a new chief? Do the town manager and town board support our chief of police telling a resident asking a reasonable question about a town department openly violating a directive from the town manager to “sue us and let the courts decide?” Apparently so because not a word of protest was uttered by anyone at the dais Monday night even though they were all included on the entire email chain. It’s election season so I expect even less out of our local politicians than usual – it’s much easier to take that $1,000 campaign contribution from the SSPBA to keep quiet about problems at HPD than to actually take a stand for what’s right.

Huntersville deserves better. #AuditHPD.

Eric

 

HPD Officer Fails To Meet The New Standard Of Excellence

When is the town going to finally require a full, independent audit of the Huntersville Police Department? Why is a majority on the current town board not interested in verifying how the largest town department spends $13 MILLION of taxpayer dollars? HPD “surplus” equipment just floating around the internet for sale (just because a former town manager steals property from the taxpayers and “gives” it to you doesn’t make it any less stolen property) – no big deal, no need to ensure an accurate inventory, not like HPD keeps anything valuable or dangerous in their taxpayer paid-for inventory. Almost $700K in HPD “contract services” not broken out by line item in yet another budget, but the town board will go ahead and vote again to approve a budget Monday night that is less than transparent. When are the politicians (and candidates) in Huntersville going to stop worrying about what the SSPBA might say about them and instead start worrying about ensuring all HPD officers are held to the same standard and that all HPD policies and town personnel policies apply equally to every officer? Guess those $1,000 contributions the SSPBA hand out matter more than doing the right thing. How much did HPD screwing over the K9 officer cost Huntersville taxpayers and when is someone going to be held accountable for that situation? All that to say, why am I still wasting time writing all of these articles when nothing ever seems to change?

Last week I promised an answer to the question what a moving van, a local golf league, and the CMS Police Dept. have in common. In case the answer wasn’t obvious, it’s newly re-hired HPD Officer Tom Seifert (probably obvious to everyone except the HPD officer(s) responsible for investigating the recent “armed robbery” in the Stephens Grove neighborhood since it’s been two weeks now and there still isn’t any evidence any “armed robbery” took place but apparently the responsible officer(s) thinks it’s ok to allow neighbors to continue to worry about an armed robber on the loose… But I digress.).

According to HPD’s new standard of excellence, a single alleged violation of the town’s personnel policy or HPD policy is enough to justify disciplinary action against a long-time officer with no history of complaints or reprimands. Based on conversations with multiple HPD sources, Ofc. Seifert has used on-duty officers to perform personal tasks on multiple occasions, including as a moving crew for both himself and Lt. Latza and as bank-runners to make deposits at a local bank for the weekly golf league he helps to run at Birkdale. If using town equipment to promote a golf tournament unrelated to the town or HPD isn’t a possible violation of any town or HPD policy, surely using on-duty officers to perform personal tasks is worthy of investigation to determine if any town or HPD policies were violated by Ofc. Seifert or any other HPD officer who knew about or approved such activities. The new standard of excellence must be upheld!

HPD sources have told me that during Ofc. Seifert’s prior stint with HPD before leaving for the Mecklenburg Co. Sheriff’s Office he used on-duty officers he supervised at least twice as a moving crew. According to one source, Ofc. Seifert called him a few years back prior to his shift and advised him to wear shorts and a t-shirt to work the next day because he was going to be helping someone move. That someone ended up being Lt. Bryan Latza and on-duty HPD officers helped with his move from Cornelius to Huntersville (or possibly right across the Concord line since the move was a few years ago and the source recalled it being somewhere in the vicinity of Poplar Tent Rd.). Another source confirmed a similar experience when he, along with at least three other officers, helped Ofc. Seifert move a large amount of furniture from his house in Huntersville to his current house in Lincoln County. All while on the clock getting paid. Allegedly. Of course, nothing wrong with using your work pals to help you move, but us regular folks have to wait until after work or on the weekends for this kind of help. Must be nice to have taxpayers help defray your moving expenses. Allegedly.

In addition to using on-duty officers as movers, a source stated that on multiple occasions over the past few years Ofc. Seifert required them to perform personal tasks related to the “Birkdale Golf League.” What is the Birkdale Golf League? Based on its website, it appears to be an informal weekly golf league sponsored by Hickory Tavern and presented by Crossover Sports played at the Birkdale Golf Course in Huntersville and that requires an $80 league fee payable to Crossover Sports along with weekly fees to be paid in cash at the registration table prior to play for the evening. If you have any questions about the league rules or information about the league, you’re directed to contact Tom Seifert at a cell number or crossoversportsonline.com email address. And what is Crossover Sports? According to the NC Secretary of State’s website, it’s an LLC organized in 2006 for “promotions and online sports marketing” with three members listed on its most recent Annual Report – one of whom is Ofc. Seifert (although Seifert’s name doesn’t appear on the LLC documents until the 2011 Annual Report).

Multiple sources confirmed Ofc. Seifert spends a large amount of time during the work week doing work related to the Birkdale Golf League (I’m still waiting on a pending records request to confirm this information.). One source stated, “It was a running joke between some of us whenever we saw the Sergeant [Seifert] working on his laptop we knew we wouldn’t be getting much help from him until the golf scores were entered.” Another source told me Ofc. Seifert directed them to make deposits for him at a local bank (possibly the Suntrust at Sam Furr and Hwy 21, but the source couldn’t confirm, just that it was near the library around the Sam Furr/Hwy 21 intersection) while on duty on at least 5-10 occasions over the past few years and told me these deposits – which always reportedly contained “stacks of cash” – were related to the golf league based on the deposit slips that were always filled out by Ofc. Seifert. The same source also said they had observed Ofc. Seifert frequently using a subordinate to make golf league “score sheets” while on duty for the various weekly pairings. Allegedly.

Of course, nothing wrong with a group of buddies from all over the North Mecklenburg area getting together on a Thursday evening for some socializing and a round of golf in a cash league run by an LLC with an HPD officer as a member of the LLC and primary organizer of the weekly golf league. But, seems to me certain sections of the town’s personnel policy or a few HPD policies like Directive 1.40 might say otherwise.

Oh, and the CMS Police reference, that’s where Ofc. Seifert is interested in working next according to a source who told me they were contacted by a friend at the CMS Police Dept. asking about their experience with Ofc. Seifert at HPD. Of course, nothing wrong with someone trying to better themselves with a new job opportunity, but I thought the town board had fixed all the issues with officer retention after the pay raise they gave HPD last year? If so, why do we still have experienced officers seeking employment with other law enforcement agencies?

Now all we need is a brave officer to formally complain about any of the above and maybe we’ll see some changes. Maybe even the same brave officer who found the bravery to complain about the K9 officer a few weeks after his allegedly discriminatory remark might find the same bravery to complain about any of the above? I’m sure ISS would be perfectly willing to take more taxpayer money to investigate yet another situation at HPD.

Like I wrote last week, this isn’t rocket science folks. When people are held to different standards, morale suffers. How many patrol officers get to use other on-duty officers as a moving crew or run their side gigs on company time without fear of being disciplined? How many supervisors know or should know about personal work being done on company time or town equipment being used for personal business, or officers being used for personal benefit or for outside employment, or ongoing violations of town or HPD policies, or clear conflicts of interest, or otherwise failing to meet the new HPD standard of excellence, but are choosing to remain silent?

As always, if you have information you would like to share your privacy will be protected. For example, information like credit cards that are issued to supervisors being used to purchase SWAT equipment and other items outside of the normal budget process? I’d really be interested in learning more about that program.

Eric