Letter to the editor from Councilwoman Smothers: I plan to make a motion asking Bernita Sims to resign

Sep. 20, 2013 @ 07:01 PM

Ward 5 Council member Jim Davis has published a statement that summarizes the difficulty that Council members have experienced in dealing with the personal issues of the Mayor and Councilman Douglas. Efforts to govern with civility and respect an individual’s private matters have led some citizens to think that the other members of Council were condoning the situation. That is not true and Mr. Davis spoke to that point clearly.

At the end of our last City Council meeting on September 16, Mayor Sims called for a closed session to discuss personnel issues. She made statements in that session that, to me, clearly indicated that Mayor Sims’ lacked respect and confidence in Council members, though nobody was identified.

I believe our ability to work as a team has been seriously damaged by the Mayor’s comments to us and creates a barrier that can compromise effective governing.  When this is combined with the public’s perception that Council members are not concerned about the negative press generated by her unresolved personal issues, a solution is needed.

The lack of communication and explanation by Mayor Sims as well as the absence of resolution had challenged the stability and credibility of our government. I felt a plan of action was needed.

I called Mayor Pro Tem Moore, Council members Davis and Mendenhall on Tuesday morning, Sept. 17, and told them that I planned to make a motion asking Bernita Sims to resign. I also told them that I was contacting each member to advise them of that motion. I also talked to Wagner and Ewing. Councilman Ewing told me that he would second the motion asking Ms. Sims to resign. I had planned to contact Mr. Golden as well. Then, I would tell Mayor Sims of my decision.

On Wednesday, the 18th, Councilman Davis advised that he was submitting a statement to the Enterprise. I fully support Mr. Davis’ statement. I still believe that a motion to ask Ms. Sims to resign will pass.

But, the only purpose a public vote will serve is to create a public record that she has been asked to step down; it does not guarantee that she will.

I have no personal animosity toward Ms. Sims. I am sorry that she has had to endure the embarrassment of public scrutiny of her private problems. However, that is the reality if a person is elected to public office.    

And, I am truly disappointed that personal issues will define her term as Mayor of High Point.

Rebecca R. Smothers

City Council – At-large