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Editorial: Landis primed for turnaround in 2020

This year has been a tumultuous one by any measure for the town of Landis, but the south Rowan municipality appears to be on the right track headed into 2020.

Besides the fresh eyes that have joined the Landis Board of Aldermen, Town Manager Roger Hosey continues to take steps that will help prevent future wrongdoing and avoid the perception of impropriety, too.

The latest news, that he won’t head the police department after current Chief Kenny Isenhour’s retirement this month, is another step in the right direction. Hosey contract approved by the prior board would have allowed him to take over as chief after Isenhour. Hosey this week, however, said he wanted to change that to avoid any perceptions of wrongdoing.

It was refreshing to hear Hosey state his reasoning for the change of heart Monday night.

“We had enough controversy in Landis these past few years, and I think the best thing for the town would be for me to step back from that role,” Hosey said.

He also didn’t want law enforcement to become politicized in Landis.

His statements comes on the heels of a visible commitment to transparency. In an interim role, Hosey posted town documents online that revealed the nature of embezzlement accusations against former Manager Reed Linn and Finance Officer Ginger Gibson. Hosey was responding to requests for documents, but the manner and speed in which he did so was a refreshing departure from past administrations. Hosey has also said he’s committed to provide all town board members and Landis’ certified professional accountant with regular access to bank and credit card statements.

In 2020, Landis’ New Year’s resolution must be to embrace transparency. With Hosey leading town staff, and a new board that won their seats beating the drum of increased transparency, we think Landis is primed for a turnaround.

If there are any questions remaining for Hosey, one is the exact degree to which he plans to be involved in the police department. Hosey indicated he wants to be a police officer in the department, but we wonder whether Landis residents should expect to see him on the streets or whether he’ll be more akin to a reserve officer, responding when extra manpower is needed. The title of town manager doesn’t come with much, if any, free time for a second job. So, Hosey must define his role for the public.

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