After the Wells Fargo email relating to Mayor Taylor was released on WSOC TV, their Facebook page and Twitter I have received phone calls, text messages and emails from friends and residents in and around Matthews asking, what in the world is going on in the Town of Matthews? Instead of me constantly explaining “how” this all came to pass I decided to explain in this posting and hopefully this will answer all the questions.
Within this website there are many documents provided. In order to provide all the information that is posted a public records request must be made. A email request was made to the Town of Matthews and according to North Carolina General Statute (NCGS) §132 Public Records I have every right to make this request. All emails that include “town” business no matter the email address from which it was sent or received is public record and copies must be provided for. If a request for public record is denied than the Town must cite the statute that trumps NCGS §132 Public Records. According to NCGS §132-6 copies shall be furnish as promptly as possible.
What it all comes down to is this, I made a request for emails concerning the land purchase off Matthews-Mint Hill Road. Upon reading them I noticed that Mayor Taylor was forwarding emails to his Wells Fargo account. I questioned why and what is being forwarded? Especially when Mayor Taylor has a history of using a private email account in the past in order to keep information from public record which was stated by Judge Hunter of the North Carolina Court of Appeals case number COA14-943 (see bottom of page 7 & top of page 8). I was told by Mayor Taylor and our Town Clerk that no emails had been forwarded to his Well Fargo account that pertained to the purchase of the land along Matthews-Mint Hill Road, but I could clearly see that something had been sent. This then lead me to contacting Wells Fargo and requesting copy of emails thus producing the email response.
April 21, 2015 NCCOA opinion *This is a published opinion, meaning it will now set a new precedent for the citizens of North Carolina.
Why did Mayor Taylor use his Wells Fargo email account? I do not know, only he can answer that. But, I do not think this is just about emails being sent. There is more to this and I believe this lies within the second paragraph of the Wells Fargo email.
“We have researched this matter and have determined that Mr. Taylor improperly used his Wells Fargo email account to send and receive messages relating to his duties as mayor. Wells Fargo has policies which prohibit the use of corporate email for this type of outside activity and we will be acting accordingly to deal with the issue”
So while at Wells Fargo Mayor Taylor spent time doing business for the town. This would explain one reason why he was forwarding emails to his work account. When he forwarded emails to his Wells Fargo account no red flags would be sent because it had a Wells Fargo address. This would be a way to hide the fact that he was doing town business during his paid work hours for Wells Fargo. Hmmmm…. is this not being dishonest and stealing? Well, this is just my theory.
Is this the reason Mayor Taylor changed his mind to run for mayor? I do not know. His claim is “I have accomplished all the goals I’ve had” along with other various reasons and that’s his story and I’m sure he’s sticking to it. Although, I do find it interesting that on Friday July 7th the first day when Mecklenburg County Board of Elections opened for registration he was there with pin in hand, normally not something one does if they are not sure they want to run again. On July 13th I was notified by Wells Fargo and three business days later he withdrew. Tuesday July 18th by 5:00pm was the deadline anyone could withdraw to remove their name from the ballot and it just so happened that Mayor Taylor decided to withdraw. Paul Bailey signed up for Town Council on Monday July 10th. He then withdrew his name from Town Council on Tuesday the 18th and stepped up to the plate to run for mayor. You see, the good ol’ boys club needed someone to run against Mr. Whitley. Mr. Bailey does not come without his skeletons. One in particular, he supported the vote to condemn WWII Veteran Mr. Neubert Purser’s farm who was a hometown hero. So in my opinion, Mayor Taylor was given an ultimatum by Wells Fargo which lead to the decision not to run again.
The Town of Matthews responded to the email with “Mayor Taylor has stated that any email passing through his Wells Fargo account was/is forwarded through his town account.” Really!? First of all this is a BIG NO-NO. Second, isn’t this like saying, it does not matter that I was hiding this from work, the emails were forwarded through my town account so there’s no problem its-all-good! I think Wells Fargo saw different. Even the Town of Matthews has a Technology and Communication Policy and employees are required to sign acknowledging they have read and received a copy. If they violate this policy than it “could lead to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.”
I believe that when elected official’s participate in a unethical manner than the public must be informed. If we do not hold these people accountable than we are just as guilty and we have no right to complain.
Thank you for all the support and do not forget to support MATTHEWS WATCH by telling your friends and neighbors.
NORTH CAROLINA GENERAL STATUTE CHAPTER 132 PUBLIC RECORDS AND 132-6 INSPECTION AND EXAMINATION
Chapter 132. Public Records. § 132-1. “Public records” defined. (a) “Public record” or “public records” shall mean all documents, papers, letters, maps, books, photographs, films, sound recordings, magnetic or other tapes, electronic data-processing records, artifacts, or other documentary material, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received pursuant to law or ordinance in connection with the transaction of public business by any agency of North Carolina government or its subdivisions. Agency of North Carolina government or its subdivisions shall mean and include every public office, public officer or official (State or local, elected or appointed), institution, board, commission, bureau, council, department, authority or other unit of government of the State or of any county, unit, special district or other political subdivision of government. (b) The public records and public information compiled by the agencies of North Carolina government or its subdivisions are the property of the people. Therefore, it is the policy of this State that the people may obtain copies of their public records and public information free or at minimal cost unless otherwise specifically provided by law. As used herein, “minimal cost” shall mean the actual cost of reproducing the public record or public information. (1935, c. 265, s. 1; 1975, c. 787, s. 1; 1995, c.
§ 132-6. Inspection and examination of records. (a) Every custodian of public records shall permit any record in the custodian’s custody to be inspected and examined at reasonable times and under reasonable supervision by any person, and shall, as promptly as possible, furnish copies thereof upon payment of any fees as may be prescribed by law. As used herein, “custodian” does not mean an agency that holds the public records of other agencies solely for purposes of storage or safekeeping or solely to provide data processing. (b) No person requesting to inspect and examine public records, or to obtain copies thereof, shall be required to disclose the purpose or motive for the request. (c) No request to inspect, examine, or obtain copies of public records shall be denied on the grounds that confidential information is commingled with the requested nonconfidential information. If it is necessary to separate confidential from nonconfidential information in order to permit the inspection, examination, or copying of the public records, the public agency shall bear the cost of such separation on the following schedule: State agencies after June 30, 1996; Municipalities with populations of 10,000 or more, counties with populations of 25,000 or more, as determined by the 1990 U.S. Census, and public hospitals in those counties, after June 30, 1997; Municipalities with populations of less than 10,000, counties with populations of less than 25,000, as determined by the 1990 U.S. Census, and public hospitals in those counties, after June 30, 1998; Political subdivisions and their agencies that are not otherwise covered by this schedule, after June 30, 1998. (d) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (a) and (b) of this section, public records relating to the proposed expansion or location of specific business or industrial projects may be withheld so long as their inspection, examination or copying would frustrate the purpose for which such public records were created; provided, however, that nothing herein shall be construed to permit the withholding of public records relating to general economic development policies or activities. Once the State, a local government, or the specific business has announced a commitment by the business to expand or locate a specific project in this State or the business has made a final decision not to do so, of which the State or local government agency involved with the project knows or should know, the provisions of this subsection allowing public records to be withheld by the agency no longer apply. Once the provisions of this subsection no longer apply, the agency shall disclose as soon as practicable, and within 25 business days, public records requested for the announced project that are not otherwise made confidential by law. An announcement that a business or industrial project has committed to expand or locate in the State shall not require disclosure of local government records relating to the project if the business has not selected a specific location within the State for the project. Once a specific location for the project has been determined, local government records must be disclosed, upon request, in accordance with the provisions of this section. For purposes of this section, “local government records” include records maintained by the State that relate to a local government’s efforts to attract the project. Records relating to the proposed expansion or location of specific business or industrial projects that are in the custody of the Department of Commerce or an entity with which the Department contracts pursuant to G.S. 143B-431.01 shall be treated as follows: (1) Unless controlled by another subdivision of this subsection, the records may be withheld if their inspection, examination, or copying would frustrate the purpose for which the records were created. G.S. 132-6 Page 2 (2) If no discretionary incentives pursuant to Chapter 143B of the General Statutes are requested for a project and if the specific business decides to expand or locate the project in the State, then the records relating to the project shall not be disclosed. (3) If the specific business has requested discretionary incentives for a project pursuant to Chapter 143B of the General Statutes and if either the business decides not to expand or locate the project in the State or the project does not receive the discretionary incentives, then the only records relating to the project that may be disclosed are the requests for discretionary incentives pursuant to Chapter 143B of the General Statutes and any information submitted to the Department by the contracted entity. (4) If the specific business receives a discretionary incentive for a project pursuant to Chapter 143B of the General Statutes and the State or the specific business announces a commitment to expand or locate the project in this State, all records requested for the announced project, not otherwise made confidential by law, shall be disclosed as soon as practicable and within 25 days from the date of announcement. (e) The application of this Chapter is subject to the provisions of Article 1 of Chapter 121 of the General Statutes, the North Carolina Archives and History Act. (f) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, the inspection or copying of any public record which, because of its age or condition could be damaged during inspection or copying, may be made subject to reasonable restrictions intended to preserve the particular record. (1935, c. 265, s. 6; 1987, c. 835, s.