Reidsville city council members used their fists as gavels, knocking them against their podiums to silence the crowd, at the May 9, 2022, meeting.
Much of the commotion began during the discussion of the property on 165 North Main Street in Reidsville. This property has three residential structures on it, one brick home and two mobile homes, and is an issue in the eyes of several citizens and council members.
The discussion of the five-acre property began in March, after the second mobile home was moved onto the lot in February. This mobile home has been described by citizens to be moldy, dilapidated, and unattractive. The trailer also should have never been moved onto the property, according to city code, but Building Inspector Ronny Willis issued the permit with confidence.
City Attorney DuAnn Cowart-Davis was asked to investigate the land and see if it could be surveyed and divided into two lots; however, this was already done in 2020. This issue was approved to go in front of the Planning and Zoning Committee.
Vickie Nail of the Reidsville Planning and Zoning Committee requested that the City hire a different building inspector to aid the committee in this investigation of the land.
“I do not have anything against Ronny, but he cannot answer my questions regarding this property if he is the one who started the problems,” Nail said.
This caused the discussion to circle back to a motion made earlier in the meeting by Councilwoman Lindsay Bennett to fire Willis from his position as the building inspector. Reidsville Mayor Curtis Colwell announced at the beginning of the meeting that the city “still has a building inspector." Bennett questioned Colwell, since he said at the May 2 planning session that Willis had resigned.
Bennett: “Curtis, you said that [Willis] resigned last week?”
Colwell: “I did not say that he resigned.”
Bennett: “[Councilman Donald Prestage] was here, too, and he is agreeing with me that you said [Willis] resigned.”
Colwell: “[Willis] told me a while back what was going on with him.”
Bennett: “There is a lot going on with him. We even said that we were going to vote to put the job opening in the paper. Don’t back track.”
Colwell: “He did not turn in a resignation.”
Bennett: “He needs to be fired because he doesn’t have a clue what he is doing.”
Councilwoman Verdie Williams chimed in and requested the meeting have some order to it. Willis did not turn in an official resignation, according to Williams, but he was telling others that he was quitting.
Bennett: “I say we fire him. He has done nothing but put this city in a bind.”
Colwell: “Well, I don’t see how.”
Bennett: “He knows nothing about ordinances or the code. He is the reason we are in some of the situations we are in. I make a motion to fire him.”
No one seconded this motion, causing the motion to die. The council went into executive session to discuss personnel. After the executive session, Bennett once again made a motion to fire Willis. Councilwoman Carolyn Crume-Blackshear asked that this topic be tabled for the next meeting, to be held in the council chambers on June 13 at 5 p.m.