Before the start of a Tuesday, Sept. 13 meeting of the Summerfield Town Council, Teresa Perryman – who’s a former Town Council member but is still active in the town’s affairs – placed a small voice recorder on the table used by the Town Council members so she could get a high-quality recording of the proceedings.
However, controversy ensued when Summerfield City Manager Scott Whitaker picked up the recorder and told Perryman she could not put it there.
Perryman has hearing difficulties and she said she wanted to hear what was said, which is why she left the recording close up in a central spot in front of the mayor.
Whitaker has had numerous confrontations with Perryman over the years,
Perryman told the Rhino Times that she asked Whitaker the reason she couldn’t leave the recorder at the table.
“He just gave some vague answer and said something like we could talk about it later,” she said.
Perryman was told that she could place it at another spot further away.
Don Wendelken, a politically involved Summerfield resident who owns and runs the Summerfield Scoop newspaper and a news and opinion website at www.summerfieldnews.com, voiced an objection at the time of the incident. After the meeting, Wendelken asked Town Attorney Bob Hornick why the recorder wasn’t allowed at the table in a public meeting.
Wendelken wrote on his news website: “Hornick stated it created a disturbance for council members because they may have conversations/discussions during the meeting, and it could be placed at a table away from the council.”
An angry Perryman expressed her dissatisfaction during speakers from the floor moments later at the start of the Sept. 13 meeting.
She said she has placed a recorder on the table before at Summerfield Town Council meetings with no objection.
“I was angry,” she said of the Sept. 13 meeting. “It’s my recorder; it’s a public meeting – I can record it.”
NC law states: “A public body may regulate the placement and use of equipment necessary for broadcasting, photographing, filming, or recording a meeting, so as to prevent undue interference with the meeting. However, the public body must allow such equipment to be placed within the meeting room in such a way as to permit its intended use, and the ordinary use of such equipment shall not be declared to constitute undue interference.”
Perryman said there’s no way her very small recorder on the table interfered or disrupted the meeting in any way.
Once again you hear the problem children of Summerfield causing dissension. Every story you write Scott about their petty efforts only feeds their attempt of causing problems, spreading discord and being relevant. Their attempts at causing problems have cost the town hundreds of thousands of tax payer dollars in legal fees for nothing. They lose their efforts at every turn. There is a reason why Perryman lost her last election and Wendelken has never won one. The real reason for the placement of the tape recorder is to try and intimidate the council. If Perryman really has a hearing impairment then the logical place for the recorder and her would be in front of the speakers placed in the audience, not on a table o pick up ambient noise. Scott this story is a non starter, has no reason except to incite discord. Scott, I know your work, you are better than that.
Why is the council afraid of being recorded? Was this a public meeting? Can anyone record this meeting as it is not in a closed door session? Not defending either side, just curious if it is allowed?
From what I read, no one was preventing a recording of the meeting. The objection was the location of the recorder. Appears placing the recorder directly in front of the mayor was an act of intimidation. Recorders are so sensitive that sound can be picked up within a reasonable distance. Does not need to be directly in front of a speaker. If this is not the case with Ms. Perryman’s recorder, perhaps she should consider investing in a new recorder.
BJ, you mean the speakers behind the council? I don’t see any in the audience.
Sounds like it must be a Guilford County thing.
She and Wendelken are losers. No respect for anyone and anything. I’m shocked John that you would actually refer to Wendelken as a journalist. He is simply a rumor maker, ignoring the actual facts.
Again, BJ Barnes personally slanders women, and much that he says is NOT true. Legal fees are high because council and Barnes refused to comply with Court Order and women have not lost at every turn. (BJ is wrong $100,000 on that one). Why are Whitaker, Sessoms and BJ Barnes so determined that someone not be able to hear what is said at a public town meeting? If any person wants to attend, hear, listen, and participate at a Public Meeting mayor. manager and town attorney should accommodate them, especially if simple response. When BJ became Mayor he was aware of the need to hear the meeting so BJ deliberately assigned her the most remote seat to make it as difficult as possible to show off how powerful he thinks he is.
BJ is right again and there’s a reason the conservatives prevailed in the last election. The left-wing kooks that have infected this community have never contributed anything to our community’s benefit, if they claim otherwise…then name it. Witness what they did to David Couch’s planned development, then tell us again how community minded they are. Dunham, Wendelken and the rest of that clown show are on the outside looking in, which is where they need to stay.
Planned 1000 apartments next to you. No thanks. Citizen outrage delayed approval until it can be slipped through by “conservatives” when they can.
I know where they can put it.