Combined 100 Voice Choir Presents 'My Heart Longs for Christmas' :: Sunday, December 14 & Monday, December 15 at 7pm :: click here for more info!

- published 8/21 (Larry) old link: http://www1.cfnc.org/applications/NC_Community_College/apply.html?application_id=1527

Click for Franklin, North Carolina Forecast

Opinion Champion of common man not common at all

It’s been said of Alderman Jerry Evans that he was a voice for the common man on the town board, that whenever an issue or major expenditure came before the board, he stuck up for the taxpayers and always evaluated the cost versus the benefits to the people. He never bought into the need to glamorize the position that he had achieved in local government, or bought into the need for appearances over substance in fulfilling the board’s obligations to the townspeople. In this respect, Jerry Evans wasn’t common at all. He never flinched from going against the grain and sticking up for the rights of the “little guy” — the powerless and disenfranchised — even when the rest of the board was stuck in the increasingly common “groupthink” mentality that has overwhelmed so many of the boards of local government.

In doing so, Evans voiced a lot of ‘no’ votes when most of the board chose to just go along to get along. He made up his own mind on the issues before him. He didn’t let anyone tell him how to vote, and it made him a valuable asset to the town.

It’s been said of Alderman Jerry Evans that he was a voice for the common man on the town board, that whenever an issue or major expenditure came before the board, he stuck up for the taxpayers and always evaluated the cost versus the benefits to the people. He never bought into the need to glamorize the position that he had achieved in local government, or bought into the need for appearances over substance in fulfilling the board’s obligations to the townspeople. In this respect, Jerry Evans wasn’t common at all. He never flinched from going against the grain and sticking up for the rights of the “little guy” — the powerless and disenfranchised — even when the rest of the board was stuck in the increasingly common “groupthink” mentality that has overwhelmed so many of the boards of local government.

In doing so, Evans voiced a lot of ‘no’ votes when most of the board chose to just go along to get along. He made up his own mind on the issues before him. He didn’t let anyone tell him how to vote, and it made him a valuable asset to the town. During a conversation that I had with Mr. Evans last year, it was clear how much he cared for Franklin and wanted to see its citizens do well despite the economic troubles the country was facing. He specifically mentioned the urgent need to keep spending as low as possible while continuing to provide the essential services for which the town is responsible, and set funds aside in case of more shocks to the economy. It was unthinkable to him to consider raising taxes during tough times. The last thing he wanted to do was to increase the burden on the taxpayers.

Evans understood the concept that the government is there to lessen the burden and improve the lives of ordinary citizens, rather than to thrive at the people’s expense. He never forgot where he came from, and that he was there to represent the voters that had trusted him to protect their interests. He approached the job as a family man would, knowing that there are thousands of other families that he would impact with his decisions on the Board. We can only hope that the remaining aldermen keep Evans in mind in the future and vote in the spirit of his very sensible sensibilities.

We spent over an hour just talking after the town board meeting one night, and I came away with a deep admiration and respect for Jerry. It was evident as we spoke just how much he loved his family, and how proud he was of his daughter, Franklin Police Officer Christy Evans, for following in his footsteps to protect and serve the public. At the time, he was thrilled that she had returned to Franklin and said he really enjoyed spending as much time as possible with her and the rest of his family. I don’t know if he was already suffering from his illness at the time, but he had a clear sense of what was important in life and I gained a bit more wisdom simply from listening to him.

It’s people like Jerry Evans that keep our society grounded. My father Gary Gooder, who died at nearly the same time five years ago, was cut from the same mold. When he started the Macon County News in the early ’80s, the newspaper was founded on the same principles of providing a voice for the common man and giving them invaluable news coverage completely free of charge. My father, like Evans, remained a voice of reason in county politics for more than 20 years, and it seems like leaders such as these two men are in short supply these days. Their down-to-earth wisdom and integrity in the face of adversity, their lack of desire for recognition and their dedication to serving the public to the absolute best of their abilities is rare. But at least they’ll be in good company.

Hopefully there will be local leaders that will step up and fill the vacuum left by such extraordinary men. There’s nothing common about who they are or the job they do. Until then, Jerry Evans will be missed.





Share


Weekly updates in progress!

Grab your FREE copy of the
Macon County News
& Shopping Guide
on newsstands today

The Macon County News
holiday deadlines for
classifieds, display ads
& editorial copy:

– Friday, Dec. 26 for the
Tuesday, Dec. 30 issue

Note: MCN will NOT publish the week of Christmas!

Macon County News is now on:
Find the Macon County News on Facebook! and Find the Macon County News on twitter!
Facebook   Twitter