Local News

Gaston Commissioner Cancels Plans For Hawaiian Trip

Posted June 10, 2005

— One of four Gaston County commissioners headed to Honolulu for a national conference has backed out of the trip, two days after a protest.

Tom Keigher said his decision not to go to the National Association of Counties annual conference had nothing to do with that protest. He said it is for personal reasons, but would not elaborate.

Citizens protested the commissioners' trip during a hearing on Gaston's 2005-2006 budget, which may include a tax increase.

The national conference is an annual trip for many commissioners in North Carolina and throughout the nation. But its location in Honolulu this year has sparked controversy in some communities.

Union County commissioners decided last summer that it would not look good to head to Hawaii for the five-day conference during tough economic times. Mecklenburg County officials pushed for a larger travel budget last year so commissioners could attend.

Nearly 200 county commissioners from across the state, including eight from Wake County, are going. Commissioners said they would pick up new ideas. The trips, for the most part, would be paid with taxpayer money.

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