Mattie filesMattie Lawson devastated her opponent, former Democrat Arthur Williams, in the Republican runoff yesterday, defeating him by a 2 to 1 margin.  Lawson will now face well-funded Democrat Paul Tine of Dare County in November.

Lawson won all four counties by wide margins despite being vastly outspent.  She took her home county of Dare with 81% of the vote, Williams’ home county of Beaufort with 59%, Washington with 62% and Hyde with 58%.  Final results:  Lawson 67%, Williams 33%.  Lawson was outspent by her opponent 8 to 1. Williams saturated the district with mailers, radio and tv but could not overcome the grassroots enthusiasm of Lawson.  Williams was one of several ‘political machine’ candidates to do down in eastern North Carolina primaries this year.  Activists and voters have sent a clear message to the political establishment.  They will not be force-fed a candidate.  They can and will work hard for candidates that reflect their values.  They can and will turn out the vote.


It pays to be a high-level County employee in Dare County. According to a 2009 UNC School of Government Report, our top administrators are some of the highest paid in the state, earning comparable salaries to administrators in some of the biggest counties.

Board of Elections:

The Board of Elections Director in Dare County is the 9th highest paid in the state (out of 100), earning $76,496.

Counties with similar cost of living indices and/or populations pay their Board of Elections Directors considerably less.  For instance, Macon County has an identical population and cost of living index yet pays their BoE Director 47% less.


Finance Director:

Dare County’s Finance Director is the 4th highest paid in the state, earning a salary of $141,285, more than the Finance Directors in Wake and Durham counties. (more…)

Under heavy fire for orchestrating a so-called ‘hunting program’ for selected youths on county property using appropriated county equipment, Commissioner Mike Johnson has now been found to have been using the power of his office to solicit donations for a religious organization.  Johnson used his county email account to promote and solicit donations for Cross Trail Outfitters (CTO), a Christian based hunting and fishing club, with which he is affiliated.  This is in clear violation of county policy, state ethical standards and plain old common sense.

Johnson’s public promotion of  CTO, began as early as Feb 2010.  County records indicate there are at least 2,000 emails between 2010 and 2011 that were either to or from Commissioner Mike Johnson’s county e-mail account that either related to his work with CTO or contained the following signature block: (more…)

Eye on Dare is reporting that Democrat Tim Spear will not seek a seat in the North Carolina General Assembly in 2012.  Spear, the current Representative in District 2, was drawn into a new House district last year, District 6, which was already represented by Republican Bill Cook.

Spear was facing a tough bid in House District 6 and may not have liked his chances of success.  The newly redrawn District 6 includes Dare, Hyde, Washington and portions of Beaufort counties.  Mr. Cook (more…)

In a rare showing of fiscal discipline, the Dare County Board of Commissioners told the School Board that they must find a way to do more with less when they approved a 2012 budget with no increase to local school funding. While the School Board can only offer a grim assessment of the future of our schools, I suggest that it’s time for the School Board to assess how they spend our money, not just put their hand in the public till for more.

If you read the local papers, you may already be in a state of high anxiety, anticipating that our local schools are on the brink of financial doom. Board of Education Vice-Chair Ben Sproul railed to the Commissioners that without an increase in local funding,

Our children will begin to pay the price

He gave the BOC what he called ‘the cold, hard truth’ saying, (more…)

Budget time is just around the corner.  As our local and County Commissioners ponder whether they’ll try and stick us with another tax increase, let’s take a quick look at the size and pay of our local government.

Employment figures put out by the NCESC show that local governments in Dare County have not yet come to grips with the fact that it’s time to tighten the old belt.  Employment and wages in the private sector have suffered while our local governments plod merrily along, feeling no pain.

Since 2006, private sector employment in Dare County has decreased (more…)

With the 201o census now behind us, it’s time for the Dare County Commissioners to take the long awaited step of properly aligning Commissioners and Districts.  Our present district layout in no way provides fair representation for the people of Dare County.  Both the state and federal legislatures are required to redistrict after every census to properly apportion representatives among the population.  Should Dare County do no less?  Should we not demand it?

Even a quick glance at the present district structure side by side with estimated 2009 population figures shows that many residents in the County (more…)