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Posted: 10:36 p.m. Thursday, June 27, 2013
By Catherine Bilkey
GASTON COUNTY, N.C. —
Gaston County Commissioners ousted County Manager Jan Winters Thursday night. The decision divided the commission. Two Winters supporters, Tom Keigher and Joe Carpenter, refused to go into a closed meeting that ended Winters' job. "I'm ticked off at them," Commissioner Joe Carpenter said. He told Eyewitness News the other commissioners were looking for someone to blame for budget issues and that Winters was not to blame. The majority of commissioners voted against Winters. They lost faith him and some commissioners told Eyewitness News he was not conservative enough with taxpayer dollars. "I think it's just an ideological change," Commissioner Jason Williams said. "We're looking for somebody that would move our county forward without continually relying on tax increases." He told Eyewitness News the closed session was out of respect for Winters' long service, 11 years. They wanted to talk to him privately. "We tried to be as respectful as we could," Williams said. Before Winters offered his resignation, he was in shock. He told Eyewitness News he was taken totally by surprise, but after resigning, Winters still thanked commissioners for letting him serve. "I respect the rights of the commission to pick someone that they would have full support of, and that's the reason I offered the resignation. It was forced, but it was done," Winters said. The money problems that likely led to all of this: commissioners decided they're going with a 3½-cent tax increase Thursday night.
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