Another issue that reared its head a couple times at the Buncombe County Commissioners’ meeting was the inability of a proliferation of legislation to result in clarity. Going into the meeting, members of the board had entertained a citizen concern about the use of multiple definitions of “public comment” in a single document. The result was that a board could interpret limitations on public speaking opportunities whichever of at least two ways.

Later on, Brownie Newman nominated Holly Jones to serve as vice chair for two terms. Attorney Michael Frue consulted the general statutes and found one clause saying vice chairs were to be appointed following an election of commissioners. That seemed to say they would be appointed every two years. But there were other clauses, for example, one specified how they were to be appointed in even and odd years, inferring they were to be appointed every year.

The logical conclusion was that if legislators write lots of words, elected officials can find verbiage to back up whatever they want to do. If those on the receiving end don’t like it and are too middle-class to hire an attorney – oh, well.