Lee County GOP chairman Jim Womack was in the news again this week for, among other things, slamming Lee County Attorney Whitney Parrish amidst the debate over whether to station county-funded school resource officers at private Christian schools.
The Sanford Herald reported this week (subscription required) that Womack wrote on a local right wing meme-centered Facebook group that Parrish was “seriously lacking in both common sense and research ability” after she issued a legal opinion stating that it would be illegal under state law for the county to station SROs at the private schools.
“The practice is anything but illegal…She would know that if she had managed to check with the folks who actually passed the laws, rather than checking with some SOG person at (liberal) UNC who has an opinion but not a citation of law prohibiting taxpayer provided security at private schools,” Womack reportedly wrote, referencing the North Carolina School of Government, which among other things advises local government officials about how to operate within the law.
But Womack’s criticism of Parrish is at odds with statements he made himself in 2011, when as a sitting county commissioner he criticized his fellow board members (and County Manager John Crumpton, and then County Attorney Dick Hoyle [hey, that’s almost some kind of pattern]) over an incentive package which brought dozens of jobs to the area for allegedly being illegal based on an opinion from the North Carolina School of Government (it wasn’t, but that’s another story).
“I’m actually disappointed in our county manager and in our attorneys for failing to do the necessary due diligence through the School of Government, who has trained us what right should look like,” he said at the time.
Helpfully, video exists of Womack’s 2011 comments. Check it out:
So which is it? Is the School of Government staffed with liberals who have baseless legal opinions, or must every action taken by the Board of Commissioners be met with its stated approval? For Womack, the answer seems to be whichever better supports his position at a given time.
Anyway, when the SRO funding issue came before the Board of Commissioners Monday night (the budget ultimately approved did not contain funding for private school SROs), Womack himself was nowhere to be found. Instead, he and his wife, school board member Sherry Womack, appeared before the Board of Commissioners in Rockingham County (start watching around the 13 minute mark), where both urged the conservative Republican-led board there to fund four additional SRO positions for their schools.
“In our budget in 2013, we cut our taxes by five percent in the same year that we expanded our SRO staffing to include every county school,” Womack said Monday night, not mentioning that the move was seen, due to a dramatic increase in personnel costs, as one of the primary contributors to a county tax increase the year after Womack left the board.
In any case, Womack’s effort in Rockingham County also failed, as the Republican commissioners approved their budget proposal – without the additional resource officers – unanimously.