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My Turn, Beverly McCraw: Former Spencer manager was looking for trouble with audio recording

By Beverly McCraw

As a longtime citizen of Spencer, neighbor of Alderwoman Sylvia Chillcott and an employee hired of the town, I cannot stand by and witness such blatant misrepresentation of Chillcott’s character and lack of full disclosure concerning the pertinent facts surrounding this situation.

First of all, Chillcott had been asked to investigate an event which demanded approval by the board and wanted to ask former Town Manager Terence Arrington directly, if he had knowledge of this situation. After calling the office twice and not finding Arrington available, she had become a little frustrated.

When she finally reached Arrington and she told him that she had a question, he rudely answered, “I am not entertaining any questions from you today.” It was difficult to understand his attitude.

As Chillcott remained persistent in attempting to find an answer to her legitimate and professional question, Arrington proceeded to call her a liar, repeatedly. In exasperation, Ms. Chilcott defended herself by saying, “I am not a d …. liar.”

At this point, the recorded conversation given to the Board and subsequently leaked to the Post, shows Arrington berating her for using profanity. The audience of the public and the members of the NAACP have only heard this convenient clip, which still does not show Ms. Chilcott showing disrespect to Mr. Arrington.

If every employer had to apologize to an employee for using the “d” word, then there would not be many employed people or bosses left. The comments made in anger and exasperation by Chillcott’s best friend as she grabbed the phone away were made in order to defend the reputation of her friend. Chillcott, as a member of the Spencer Board of Aldermen, should not be held responsible for what her friend decided to do.

Citizens have been known to make their feelings known to every member of the board, including the mayor, and they have not always been polite or professional.

This is called freedom of speech and, to be exact, there is no proof of any racially motivated discrimination as purported by Arrington.

No racial slurs were used by anyone, and it seems like Arrington was looking for problems when he recorded part of this conversation and released it to interested parties.

I urge Salisbury-Rowan NAACP President Gemale Black to spend his time on real discrimination as it occurs with documented evidence. When one spends time on such a flimsy and unwarranted accusation, it takes away from the seriousness of real racial discrimination.

As a town, we have been living with all races and types of people for the past twenty years. I have had Hispanic and black neighbors. None of us have had any problems. Please do not stir up trouble where it does not exist.

Since Arrington lives in South Carolina and never actually lived in Spencer, it seems that he just made assumptions about our town without really taking time to get to know the dynamics of our small community.

Since Chillcott has taught in our local schools and been in contact with teachers and students of all races and nationalities, she has proven that she is not a person who loses her cool easily or uses profanity or racial slurs. Otherwise, she would not have lasted in such an area or profession for so long.

I could not remain silent any longer, as this situation seemed to escalate to a fever pitch without an investigation of all the facts.

Beverly McCraw is a former French and English teacher who now works as the town librarian for Spencer.

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