A comment about the Confederacy by an Isle of Wight elected official during a public budget meeting sparked controversy Monday.
Frustrated over a lack of money and a request for additional emergency services funding, Newport District Supervisor Buzz Bailey jokingly wondered if Isle of Wight could print money like the federal government.
And then he said, “Save the Confederate money. The south will rise again.”
It wasn’t taken as a joke.
Isle of Wight Superintendent Katrise Perera left the meeting following Bailey’s comment.
Local television channels were immediately alerted and one channel interpreted Bailey’s comment as a serious hope that the Confederacy would return.
Efforts to reach Bailey were unsuccessful.
Schools spokesperson Kenita Bowers said Perera felt uncomfortable with those sorts of comments being made in that setting.
Some people can be offended, Bowers said.
Perera thought the Board should have been focusing on the budget rather than making those comments and thought it was best to leave the meeting, Bowers said.
Isle of Wight Board of Supervisors Chairman JoAnn Hall said the comments were inappropriate.
“It was inappropriate and I’m sorry that it happened. I haven’t spoken to Mr. Bailey about it. He hasn’t returned my calls,” said Isle of Wight Board of Supervisors Chairman JoAnn Hall.
The Board probably should have paused at that point and addressed the comment, but “everyone was so tired and frustrated at the time … it didn’t seem like a big issue at the time,” she said, adding that she wasn’t aware the superintendent left the meeting.
“That was a comment made by one board member and it certainly doesn’t represent the feelings of the board or other board members,” Hall said. ...(Subscribe!)