Triangle Politics

Allen: Public will get to meet Raleigh police chief finalists

September 14, 2012 

Before Raleigh selects a new police chief to succeed the retiring Harry Dolan, the public will get an opportunity to meet and hear from the top contenders, City Manager Russell Allen said this week.

Two to four finalists will be invited to a public forum to answer questions posed by Allen, a format he said he has used throughout his four-decade career.

Mayor Nancy McFarlane said this week that she hoped three finalists would appear before the public, but added that details would be left up to Allen, who makes hiring decisions in the council-manager form of government.

Dolan is “going to be a tough act to follow,” McFarlane said.

Dolan, 54, announced his retirement last month, nearly five years after he came to Raleigh from Grand Rapids, Mich. A national search for a new chief should take three to six months, Allen has said.

Tedesco denies wrongdoing

Wake County school board member John Tedesco says he didn’t do anything wrong when he accepted donations for his run for state schools superintendent from officers in a company that does business with the school system.

At last week’s school board meeting, Democratic activist Greg Flynn accused Tedesco of a “breach of trust” for having voted to pay $81,835 to Measurement Inc. to provide tutoring services to several Wake schools and then taking campaign contributions from the company’s officers.

Tedesco responded this week by noting that the board approved the contract unanimously in February as part of a bundle of contracts. He said he had gotten advice from Ann Majestic, Wake’s school board attorney, that he didn’t need to recuse himself.

Tedesco said the donations in question, about $275, were made weeks after the board vote and can’t be considered “pay to play.” He also said that his campaign staff and legal counsel have told him that it wasn’t inappropriate to keep the money.

“We didn’t do anything wrong,” Tedesco said. “It was a nominal amount given after the fact. If it is determined to be inappropriate, we would be more than willing to return the gift.”

Tedesco also noted that Flynn used to work for the state Department of Public Instruction, which is headed by his election opponent, June Atkinson.

No Sugar Daddy here

Bloomington, Ind., and Chapel Hill-Carrboro have much in common, including flagship universities, a love of college basketball and a focus on the arts and sustainability.

But when 80 government, business and community officials travelled to Bloomington last week for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce’s annual intercity visit, Orange County Commissioner Earl McKee said he learned that the Bloomington area has something Orange County doesn’t: a “sugar daddy” that will step in and take care of public needs.

“One thing I heard repeatedly from the folks in Bloomington was this project was provided by the Cook family,” McKee said.

Cook family patriarch William A. Cook founded the Cook Group and pioneered the development of medical devices. He was well known as Indiana’s wealthiest man, a dedicated philanthropist and friend to rock star John Mellencamp, who sang at Cook’s memorial service last year.

Orange County’s burdens will rest with its taxpayers, McKee said Thursday night as commissioners met with county and city schools officials to talk about supporting and expanding pre-kindergarten education at a time when budgets are tight.

Political Trails

• John Brooks, candidate for state labor commissioner, will speak to the Wake County Senior Democrats on Wednesday at the Crabtree Marriott Hotel on Glenwood Avenue. A Dutch lunch will be at 11 a.m. with the program to follow. The meeting is open to the public.

• Kenneth E. Fernandez, director of the Elon University Poll, will speak at the Timely Topics luncheon of the League of Women Voters of Wake County at noon Friday at the NCSU University Club, 4300 Hillsborough St. in Raleigh. The public is welcome, but luncheon reservations, at $16 per person, must be made by Monday at www.lwvwake.org.

• Omar Beasley, an independent candidate for the Durham County Board of Commissioners, is holding a campaign money-raising get-together from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Blue Coffee, 202 N. Corcoran St. Beasley, a bail bondsman who also coaches youth track, is running for one of five seats on the county board against five Democrats nominated in the May primary. No Republicans are in the race.

Compiled by Matt Garfield, Jim Wise and Tammy Grubb

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