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Column: Can the Cheney Law Office Purchase Be Postponed?

At Tuesday night’s Reidsville Mayoral Candidate Forum hosted by the Greater Tattnall Chamber of Commerce at the Tattnall County Courthouse, current Mayor Eddie Rewis told a room full of people that he was planning on ‘postponing’ the purchase of the Cheney Law Office. His answer was met with an applause by many in the crowd, but what does that mean? Is there any merit to the statement or is it political pandering with two weeks to go until Election Day?

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Why now?

First, the citizens of Reidsville should remember that the council, the mayor, and the city attorney had several opportunities to put off the vote and the progress of the purchase of the Cheney Law Office. In fact, following the October 5 work session, I personally had a discussion with Mayor Rewis with mayoral candidate Sydney Clifton and two other citizens of Reidsville where I asked him why the voted needed to happen October 13th. Mayor Rewis responded, twice, that he wasn’t going to postpone the vote. He claimed the vote had been scheduled for months.

So, why now?

At the September 29th public hearing, the October 5th work session, and ahead of the vote on October 13th, the citizens of Reidsville attended to plea for a delay, but none was even considered.  They were practically begging and on both October 5th and the 13th, Rewis said on the record that the decision of the Council needed to be respected.

So, why now?

Can the mayor singlehandedly decide to postpone a purchase when he was the one who asked if there was a motion to vote on the purchase just one week prior? The answer is no. Legally, any decision to reconsider or go a different direction must be decided upon by a vote by the council. Rumors are swirling that temporarily halting the purchase was discussed with other council members over the last week, and those claims appear to be unfounded, but if they were true, issues over official business, quorum, and public meetings would again be compromised.

The real question is “What does ‘postpone’ even mean?” Does it mean until the day after the forum? Today? Or Wednesday, November 4th? Until a proper appraisal is conducted by a third party? Or postponed until an inspection is conducted by a qualified third party?

If this postponement warrants an applause, but has no ‘re-visit date,’ tell us: Why now?

Jessica Szilagyi is a former Statewide Contributor for

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