New board members chosen for housing authority

  • Posted: Thursday, September 4, 2014 1:22 a.m.

The Rowan County Housing Authority’s Board of Commissioners will soon have new leadership.

In early August, Chairman Mac Butner chose not to reapply after being accused of making racially charged comments on Facebook. Vice-chairman Olin Miles was not reappointed by the Rowan County Board of Commissioners.

The Rowan County board appointed Salisbury social worker Hattie Johnson and former mayor of East Spencer Kenneth Fox. Johnson received three of five votes. Fox was a unanimous pick.

Butner’s and Miles’ terms end on Sept. 30, said Rowan County Housing Authority Director Sarah Potts.

Butner was previously under pressure to resign after making his comments.

Referring to a photograph of a Moral Monday protest in early July, Butner said on Facebook: “Gee, they are all black. I guess the white folk could not get off because they were too busy working (and) being productive, good citizens.”

The controversial comments resulted in an investigation by Rowan County officials, who found that Butner wasn’t guilty of wrongdoing.

Throughout the whole process Butner said he never was called or received letters from accusers or investigating organizations. He said the entire controversy was ludicrous from the start.

“If I wanted to be reappointed, I would have reapplied,” Butner said. “All of this was politically motivated from the beginning to upset my attempt to get on the ballot for county commissioner. This is why good people won’t serve in elected offices.”

A complaint was also filed with the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Greensboro field office.

Butner attempted to run as an independent candidate for the Rowan County Board of Commissioners, which required 4,000 signatures.

Butner added that letting his term expire shouldn’t be interpreted as an alternative to resignation.

“There’s a time to come and a time to go,” he said. “I felt like I’ve done all I can do. People thought I was hanging on because it was a paid position. It was a voluntary job and I never got paid a nickel.”

Not seeking reappointment accomplished one final goal, Butner said, to increase the number of minorities on the Housing Authority’s board.

“Luckily, now, we are going to have a minority woman and man,” Butner said.

Salisbury-Rowan NAACP President Scott Teamer, who previously condemned Butner’s comments, wouldn’t comment specifically on the fact that Butner would no longer serve on Rowan’s Housing Authority board, but said blacks should be more involved in politics to prevent future issues.

“This type of situation is going on across the nation,” Teamer said. “The NAACP’s intent was never to single one person out. The biggest way we can make a difference is to get involved.”

He added that Butner’s actions should be a wake up call for the black community.

“When minorities don’t show any interest, things like this can happen,” Teamer said.

The Rowan County Housing Authority is a federally funded agency that administers public housing. Potts said the housing authority’s board sets policies and procedures, but its members are not involved in day-to-day operations.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.

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