Crockett Council To Meet Monday As Divisions Grow

By Greg Ritchie

Messenger Reporter


Crockett City Council will hold two meetings Monday, July 1, one to deal with pending issues and a budget workshop, the second that evening to deal with the pending internal affairs report regarding Crockett Economic and Industrial Development Corporation (CEIDC).

The meetings come after the disappointing cancellation of the previous meeting, June 17,  when three council members failed to appear: Elbert Wayne Johnson, Darrell Jones and NaTrenia Hicks. The Messenger has heard from sources the three deny any collusion in the matter – which would be a crime – and claim they each had independent reasons for not attending. It is also curious to note CEIDC Executive Director James Gentry also missed the meeting, even though a report about his conduct was to be presented and voted on at that time. It is unknown if this was yet another coincidence, or if Gentry knew in advance there would be no reason to attend. 

In the meantime, the video presentation of investigative reporter Wayne Dolcefino hit the internet like a meteor, gaining nearly five thousand views in only its first day and a half online. The video is hard to watch for those who love the city, exposing as it does not only the many issues surrounding CEIDC, but the great divisions opening up among its residents. The video chronicles some of the council members, too, including allegations Jones actually lives out of state. The Messenger reached out to ask if Jones had any comment on these allegations, but as of press time, there was no response. Dolcefino received two trespass warnings during his time in Crockett, one when he attempted to visit Jones’ home, the other when he knocked on Gentry’s door. 

One of those featured in the video was Oscar Henderson, Pastor of Pine Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Crockett. Henderson visited The Messenger offices and repeated what he told Dolcefino, namely the issues in the city have nothing to do with political parties or race, but about truth and what is right. Henderson reiterated the three council members should have shown up for the meeting and that being on city council doesn’t mean you can “play games” or skip out on your duties when there is something you do not like on the agenda. 

“They think they have a majority now and they can control everything and do whatever they want,” Henderson said. “They do have a majority, but that doesn’t make what they are doing right. ‘For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul.’”

The Messenger learned a political action committee has been formed to support local candidates and contribute to local projects, such as infrastructure and street repairs. The group is officially formed and will soon get its paperwork and financials in order, with Virginia Lewis elected to run the organization. 

One of Dolcefino’s suggestions in his report was for a recall election for Jones, who – regardless of his residency – has missed many council meetings, as reported in The Messenger. While the state allows city governments to include a recall clause in their city charter, no such clause exists in Crockett, so a recall at the present time would be impossible, even if desired by the voters in Precinct Two. This is one of the items under consideration by the charter committee to update the 50-year-old charter, along with possible attendance clauses and other updates. Sources have told The Messenger the original charter may have never officially been approved by council or voters at that time, and amending may not be needed. A new charter might have to be made and the old discontinued. 

The budgetary meeting will begin at 9 a.m., with some of the items missed due to the cancellation of the last meeting, followed by a budget workshop. The 6 p.m. meeting will present the results of the recommendations of the internal affairs review of the CEIDC forensic audit. Both meetings will be held at Crockett City Hall, located at 200 North Fifth Street.

Greg Ritchie can be reached at [email protected]

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