Argument disrupts Landis meeting

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 5, 2016

By Rebecca Rider

LANDIS — The Landis boardroom erupted in argument Monday after Phil Glass, a resident, called for budget cuts to the Landis Police department.

During Landis’ April board meeting Monday evening, Glass, of South Zion Street, spoke during public comment to complain about a $314 utility bill that indicated he’d used more than 100 gallons of water a day.

“Something’s not right, ‘cause I don’t use 100 gallons of water a day,” he said.

After the board agreed to settle the matter with a meter reread and to check Glass’ home for a leak, Glass said he had some concerns about the police force.

Glass alleged that in March he observed, through binoculars, two Landis cars come to investigate an incident on his road. He said he’d heard “through the grapevine” that the incident involved a gun.

“Those two officers, they didn’t — they sat there on the side of the road and didn’t move,” he said.

As he watched, he said, six or seven Rowan County Sheriff’s Office vehicles arrived, along with Kannapolis police. Glass alleged that the Landis police officers sat back and watched the other law enforcement agencies work.

“If they’re already doing that much work, why are we spending 85-plus thousand dollars on a police force. I think if you’d at least cut it in half it’d be enough to cover what (Police Chief Bob Wood) says happens in this town . . . if we could save half a million dollars on that, heck we could set the gazebo on fire up here every Friday night and everybody could eat oysters and drink liquor, I reckon,” Glass said. “ … I mean there’s just so much waste in this town, it’s unbelievable.”

Mayor Mike Mahaley tried to smooth things over.

“Everybody talks about every department, they really do,” he said.

“I mean I understand that,” Glass said, “But, why, I’m paying double down, but I’m seeing triple money gettin’ blowed up a donkey’s butt around this town for nothing.”

Glass referenced the Sheriff’s Office responding again, and Wood cut in.

“Mayor, can I interject,” Wood said, “I’ve heard enough of this.”

“Yes you can,” Mahaley said.

Wood said Glass did not know what was going on the day the Sheriff’s Office responded. The call, he said, was in reference to a stolen vehicle.

“Those binoculars I’m sure didn’t have ears. … You didn’t see my officer with his britches tore, mud all over him. We had to crawl one out from under a house – but he knows all about it.”

The two began to argue. Wood said Kannapolis and the county responded because the incident involved all three jurisdictions before the car was finally stopped in Landis by Landis police.

“I’m tired of hearing about this,” Wood said. “Let’s move on to something else.”

“I don’t care what you’re tired of. You’re just mad, Bob,” Glass said.

“That’s right, I am,” Wood shot back.

The two began to argue further, with Glass accusing Wood of being mad about the truth and saying that they needed “to clean up our own house.” Wood said Glass “didn’t know the truth.” Mahaley tried to break the argument up by hitting the desk with his gavel. Mahaley told Glass he’d gotten his answer, but Glass tried to go on, wanting to discuss the town’s homeless population.

Before he could continue, Detective Capt. Roger Hosey ran up to the stand and ordered Glass to sit down.

“The mayor told you you’re done – sit down,” Hosey said.

“OK, that’s how it works around here, I see,” Glass said, as he turned to go back to his seat.

“No, it’s not,” Mahaley said.

“Say somethin’ else and you’re gonna find out,” Hosey interrupted. “Sit there and be quiet. He told you you’re done.”

In other business:

• Town Manager Reed Linn said the town had received five bids for the demolition of the old hardware store. Bids ranged from $13,000 to $39,000, and Linn advised the board to wait until the next fiscal year before accepting a bid. That way the town would be able to budget for the job.

“I think this is a good move, waiting till the next budget year,” Mahaley said.

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264.