Time for commissioners to remove Cummings from DSS board

It could have been coincidence that not one, not two, not three, but four county commissioners, all of whom are against the reappointment of Raymond Cummings to the Department of Social Services board, were unable to attend the Robeson County Board of Commissioners meeting that had been scheduled for July 19, forcing it to be postponed until tomorrow.

But it wasn’t.

If only one or two of those commissioners had missed that meeting, then the board would have shoehorned Cummings back onto the board in a 4-2 or 4-3 vote.

We don’t know who among those four commissioners, David Edge, Lance Herndon, Tom Taylor or Chairman Jerry Stephens had a legitimate conflict for the July 19 meeting, but once it was clear that one couldn’t attend, then a minimum of two more absentees were needed so there would not have been a quorum — at least six commissioners are needed — needed to conduct official business. We guess one got a doctor’s note, another had a flat tire and our sympathies to the one whose grandmother died.

That is how much Edge, Herndon, Taylor and Stephens want to deny Cummings the DSS seat that he fights so hard to keep so he can abuse the position with favors for family, friends and potential voters.

The day after the commissioners failed to meet, the Department of Social Services board did, with Cummings taking a seat, which he will continue to do until the board can reach a majority to either reappoint him to a new three-year term or replace him. Then, in a 3-2 vote, Cummings was elected to another one-year term as the board’s chairman.

So twice Cummings has voted to keep himself on the DSS board, ensuring consecutive 4-4 deadlocks, and then it was his vote that kept the chairman’s gavel in his hands. But interesting also is that the 4-4 deadlocks were not identical, with Noah Woods joining Edge, Herndon and Taylor in voting to replace Cummings on the board the first time, and then Stephens joining Edge, Herndon and Taylor the second time, with Woods changing his vote.

Cummings’ willingness to abuse that seat on the board was apparent last year when he barged into the DSS and a heated confrontation ensued about personnel, one that almost found the county defending itself against yet another lawsuit. That was the final straw for some commissioners — and a back-door deal was struck for Cummings to step aside later on, but Cummings is not a man of his word.

Cummings’ narcissism has put his fellow commissioners in an awkward spot and threatens the board’s functionality. For example, more than a few people were inconvenienced by the July 19 postponement.

The obvious solution is for Cummings to step aside, but we don’t think he is capable of that degree of integrity.

So one of the three commissioners, Woods, Roger Oxendine or Berlester Campbell, needs to stop bowing at Cummings’ altar and extricate the board from this ongoing embarrassment. Why that is hard is an ongoing mystery.

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