No Vote Scheduled on Confederate Monument for July 28 Board of Commissioners Meeting
GASTONIA, N.C. – The Gaston County Board of Commissioners will meet in regular session on Tuesday, July 28, but is currently not scheduled to vote on a possible relocation of the Confederate monument outside the Gaston County courthouse.
The meeting is set for 6 p.m. at the Harley B. Gaston Public Forum at the Gaston County Courthouse, 325 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way, in Gastonia. The meeting will be livestreamed on the County’s website, GastonGov.com, as well as broadcasted on the Gaston County Government Access Channel, which is available to Spectrum and AT&T U-Verse subscribers.
Last month, the Board of Commissioners tasked a 12-member citizen panel dubbed the “Council of Understanding” to debate the future of that Confederate Monument.
The Board plans to receive a report on the Council of Understanding’s 7-5 vote to recommend relocating the statue from Commissioner Tom Keigher, who chaired that citizen council. The board may provide direction to County staff as to allowing citizens to vote on a referendum, asking state officials to lobby for a change in the 2015 law concerning objects of remembrance, or to pursue other options.
Because that item is not included for a vote on the agenda, those wishing to speak on that matter – or any other not up for a vote on the agenda – must do so during the Citizen Recognition portion of the meeting. At the direction of Board Chairman Tracy Philbeck, the Citizen Recognition portion will be capped at 25 speakers at 2 minutes per speaker, to total one hour total of time dedicated to that portion of the meeting.
Citizens must sign up in person, beginning at 5 p.m. on July 28th. County staff will sign up individuals on a first-come, first-served basis.
Citizen Recognition is designed for the board to hear public comment only. The board does not respond during this time.
There are several zoning hearings scheduled for the 28th, and seating in the forum will be reserved for planning board members, staff and applicants. Those wishing to speak on the issue of the monument or other members will be seated in overflow rooms with livestream broadcasts of the meeting on televisions in each room. Staff members will then bring those who have signed up to speak into the forum at the appropriate time in the meeting.
Overflow rooms, due to social distancing, will hold a total of 120 individuals.
Anyone attending the meeting will be required to answer three health screening questions, undergo a temperature screening and will be required to wear a face covering. Those with temperatures above 100.4 degrees will not be admitted. This is the same screening process currently in place for employees at county facilities.