Shellie Smitley



While driving recently, I noticed this sign outside of a church and had to stop and get a photo of it. It reminded me of the ongoing rift in Burke County.

Last week, I had the privilege of speaking to both County Manager Merv Waldrop and Sheriff Alfonzo Williams. I wish to point out that in my personal opinion, both men are intelligent people, well equipped to handle the roles in which they are employed. Every time I converse with either one of them, I walk away thinking, “yep, I get it.”

However, never in my life have I seen a perfect man.

During a recent conversation, Williams willingly agreed to extend an apology to Waldrop. It takes courage and strength to apologize to anyone in any circumstance. I hope he sees it through. Likewise, I hope Waldrop accepts his apology. This could be the first step toward giving Burke County citizens what they deserve. We need county officials who can work together for the benefit of the county, despite their differences.



If Williams and Waldrop can resolve themselves to make a new start, maybe the Board of Commissioners could propel the forward move by listening to Williams’ concerns in a work session in the near future. What if they asked questions and then contemplated a compromise?

There is no good guy-bad guy about this. These are relationships that have to work. Maybe, the answer seems too simple. However, admitting wrongdoing, forgiveness, communication, thoughtful consideration and compromise are elements of any and all successful relationships of any type.

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