Outgoing parks and rec director offers parting shot to council

By Kevin Spradlin

HAMLET — Tommy Cooper said he’s heard Hamlet Mayor Bill Bayless and members of  the City Council say something about about taxes and about money.

What he wanted to hear was something about goals. Councilman Jesse McQueen said Cooper missed council members’ public discussion during a March retreat that focused on infrastructure. Later in a series of lengthy discussions Tuesday night at the council’s monthly public meeting, Mitch Bowman said there was still something missing.

Mitch Bowman

Mitch Bowman

During the department directors’ reporters, Bowman, who resigned earlier this week as Parks and Recreation director — a position the Hamlet native has held for eight years — briefed council members on the start of Saturday’s soccer season on Saturday.

“If you have supported for me, I appreciate it,” said Bowman, indicating not everyone on the council offered that. “I’ll just leave it at that.”

Then Bayless said he appreciated Bowman’s work over the years. The comment extended what originally appeared to be a brief report from Bowman. That’s because Bowman was miffed.

“You don’t’ have to say that, Bill,” Bowman said.

Bayless then noted how others felt Bowman had always gone above and beyond in the performance of his duties. Bowman cut in.

“I always try to do that,” he said.

Councilman Pat Preslar said he appreciated the body of work Bowman had offered to the city.

“Overall, I’d put you up against anybody,” Preslar said.

Bowman seemed to accept the comment as genuine.

“Thank you, Pat,” Bowman said, returning the authenticity.

Then Bowman referred to Cooper’s comments.

Cooper, Bowman said, had mentioned that city leaders failed to mention goals.

“Maybe that played in my decision to turning my resignation,” said Bowman, who has noted he is leaving Hamlet and North Carolina for another position.

But along with money and goals, Bowman said that “one main word that was left out – the word is direction.”

Acting City Manager Tammy Kirkley said the city plans to begin advertising for Bowman’s replacement as soon as next week. Bowman is expected to work through the end of September.

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