Ousted Mecklenburg County Manager Harry Jones never got his say the night county commissioners voted to fire him. Immediately after the 6-2 vote on May 7, Jones asked to speak but commissioners' Chairman Pat Cotham cut him off. Given Jones' 22 years with the county, many in the community saw that as mean-spirited and unnecessary.
Now, Jones has written to the Observer editorial board, offering a statement "which reflects what I would have said if given the opportunity on the evening of May 7th." He acknowledges that "we have not been and never will be perfect," but says he's proud of all he and his team accomplished. He also hints at what's next for him.
Here is Jones' letter:
It has been an honor and a privilege for me to serve the citizens of Mecklenburg as County Manager. When I reflect on my tenure I can think of so many great things we accomplished because people in government, in business and our citizens worked together to make this county a better place to live, work and recreate. To my critics I offer that I respect your right to hold public officials accountable. We have not been and never will be perfect. I would also offer that when reasonable people consider the magnitude of the operations conducted by county management they will acknowledge there will be challenges and disagreements from time to time.
I am proud of what was accomplished during my almost 13 years as County Manager. I am particularly proud that I have left our county in good financial order and with very capable people in positions of leadership. To my former employees I want you to know that I have great respect for you and genuinely appreciated the opportunity to serve with you in administering to the needs of our county. To the current Board and to all past Board members with whom I was associated I thank you for the opportunity to serve as county manager and thank you for your service to your county.
I now enthusiastically embrace the next chapter of my life. I look forward to continuing to raise awareness and resources to fight cancer and in particular, pancreatic cancer. I consider myself very fortunate in my recovery and attribute it to spiritual and medical intervention and the incredible love of family and friends who have supported me. I now look to inspire others who face similar afflictions to help them find the inner courage and strength and above all else, hope, in their effort to find their way to good health. I also will seek opportunities at the local, regional and national levels to participate in helping this and other communities find solutions to the inevitable challenges that can arise. I leave with no regrets and appreciate the opportunity to offer these final thoughts at the conclusion of my career as County Manager for Mecklenburg County.
Harry L. Jones, Sr.