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TMCNet:  Wilson Dem treasurer says blame lies elsewhere

[January 31, 2013]

Wilson Dem treasurer says blame lies elsewhere

Jan 31, 2013 (The Wilson Daily Times - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- The treasurer for the Wilson County Democratic Party, Felicia Atkinson, did not grant The Wilson Times an interview, but did send an email saying she has tried to resolve the problems the local party has in sending in reports to the North Carolina State Board of Elections.

The local Democratic party was terminated by the SBOE in December because state officials said the reports from two quarters had not been turned in at all.

A letter of non-compliance had been sent in September to the former treasurer, warning that a termination would follow if the reports were not filed.

In an e-mail to The Times, Atkinson said, "the reports have been resubmitted but as to whether or not they will be accepted I do not know." Reports on the SBOE website show the fourth quarter report filed, but not the second or third quarters.

Atkinson contends the report she did turn in to the state was not recognized because she was not in the system as an authorized signer.

Atkinson said she did find the letter warning the local Democratic party of the pending termination.

"Upon sorting through stacks of mail, I did find the letter that was sent to the party. Sadly, the chairman of the party did not return emails or phone messages left in regards to this issue or other issues which needed to be discussed," Atkinson said in her email to The Times.

Atkinson said the letter of warning did not come to her, but to the former treasurer, and it was not her job to inform the SBOE of changes in the party.

"... communication about the position of treasurer was still sent to the personal home of ... and not the P.O. Box for the party. It was not my responsibility to inform the SBOE of changes and correct addresses for the WCDP executive committee," Atkinson said.

Further, Atkinson said, she tried to contact the local chair and former treasurer and the SBOE deputy director.

Amy Strange, compliance specialist for the state board of elections, said she had been in contact with Atkinson about missing reports since November.

The termination letter was sent out Dec. 14.

Strange said it is the treasurer who would receive that correspondence from their office about the finances of the local party, not the party chairman.

Both Strange and chair Asa Gregory said this week was the first time they have had a conversation about the status of the party.

"I was unaware of our status until I spoke with an official from the state board of elections when she made clear to me our status," Gregory said Tuesday afternoon.

Strange said the party could be fined, but will have the option to appeal the fines assessed to them.

janet@wilsontimes.com -- 265-7847 ___ (c)2013 The Wilson Daily Times (Wilson, N.C.) Visit The Wilson Daily Times (Wilson, N.C.) at www.wilsontimes.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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