PITTSBORO — Chatham County Attorney Richard “Jep” Rose told the News + Record that he should have options for handling the Confederate monument in downtown Pittsboro ready for the …
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PITTSBORO — Chatham County Attorney Richard “Jep” Rose told the News + Record that he should have options for handling the Confederate monument in downtown Pittsboro ready for the Chatham County Board of Commissioners’ May 20 meeting.
Rose said the options will “most likely” be given in closed session and doesn’t “anticipate...any action” at that time.
“We’re going to research the issue from a legal standpoint and detail those for the board,” he said. “We’re going to look at several (options). The statue could stay there, there’s certainly one.”
The commissioners instructed Rose at the April 15 meeting to research legal options for removing the monument from in front of the Chatham County Historic Courthouse in downtown Pittsboro.
Rose added that it was still “early in the game” to give any indication on what the options will be and that he hasn’t “landed” on whether a state statute prohibiting monuments like Pittsboro’s from being taken down applies to this situation.
When action is taken, “that will be public,” he said.
Public boards are allowed to hold closed sessions for attorney-client privilege, according to N.C. General Statute 143-318.11, for several reasons, including “consider(ing) and giv(ing) instructions to an attorney concerning the handling or settlement of a claim, judicial action, mediation, arbitration or administrative procedure.”
As of now, the board would decide on the monument short-handed. Republican Walter Petty will be leaving the commissioners at the end of April, leaving just four to make the decision. Terry Schmidt, chairman of the Chatham County Republican Party, told the News + Record that the party's executive board will meet later this month to vote on a recommendation.
Meanwhile, the leaders of “Chatham for All,” the group which brought the monument before the board and asked for its removal, are waiting on the board’s response. Howard Fifer, one of the individuals who spoke Monday on behalf of the group, told the News + Record Friday that the group “fervently hope(s) for...good leadership from the commissioners.”
“To me, good leadership is not waiting until tempers get even more heated, and then you make a decision based on somebody doing something stupid,” Fifer said. “To me, good leadership is making a decision and clearly stating the reasons for it, owning the decision, and I have confidence in the leaders that we elected.”
Fifer added that he “know(s)” the board “will make a decision in the best interest of the county.”