They say that all publicity is good publicity. However, the person who said that must not have known a lot about local governments – which, to a large extent, like to fly well under the radar.
The sleepy little town of Sedalia, North Carolina, for instance – with a population of 676 – was one town that for decades saw virtually no news coming out of it. But that has changed in recent months, and the small town is now ground central for a plethora of allegations of bad governance.
This week, the news coverage of the town extended beyond the borders of Guilford County. On Monday, June 6, the Carolina Journal – which for years has covered political events around North Carolina – ran an article on the town titled, “Allegations of racism and malfeasance raise alarm in Sedalia.”
The Journal began looking into the town’s action after a series of reports appeared in the Rhino Times, which found town leaders were attempting to dissuade citizens from recording meetings and run for office, conducting illegal closed sessions and seemingly exhibiting signs of reverse racism against a white member of the committee after he decided to run for Sedalia Town Council.
The town’s mayor hasn’t done himself any favors either. He has categorically refused to speak with members of the media in response to questions about the multiple allegations.
The State of North Carolina may also begin looking into the way politics have been playing out in the small town. One high-ranking state official who asked not to be identified indicated that the NC Local Government Commissioner may begin looking into Sedalia.
According to the account by the Carolina Journal, “A former candidate for town council in Sedalia says he filed a report with the N.C. State Auditor’s Office in early June to make the auditor aware of questionable issues with the council’s use of credit cards and town finances. Ed Piotrowski’s complaint comes amid allegations that council members targeted him due to his race during his candidacy for a council seat in the November 2021 election.”
While the town leaders don’t have to answer questions from reporters, they may very well have to eventually answer to state authorities if state officials are concerned about what they discover regarding the Town of Sedalia’s operations.