Anson County Commissioner Lawrence Gatewood told fellow commissioners at their meeting March 5 he would leave an office he has used at the Department of Social Services, per the request of the board.
Commissioner Vancine Sturdivant said that it is alleged Gatewood ran his 2018 campaign for commissioner at his DSS office. It is also alleged that some of the DSS staff helped with his campaign.
“I never ever done anything relative to my campaign at that office,” Gatewood said. “I was forewarned this week, that you were planning to bring this up.”
Sturdivant said she mentioned it to him prior to the meeting.
“That office was assigned to me by the Social Services board,” Gatewood said.
Emails, dating back to Dec. 18, that were exchanged between commission Chairman Ross Streater and Gatewood were shared with the board. In those, Streater questioned Gatewood being in the building rather than the Anson County Government Building.
Streater wrote that all commissioners were aware of the work Gatewood was doing at Social Services.
“I’m doing my best to keep the DSS building on schedule; volunteering my time, expertise, and energy to do it,” Gatewood wrote in the email. “I have asked for nothing in return; not even travel or meal reimbursement, for traveling back and forth to Charlotte, or project-related travel around the county, and neighboring counties.”
Gatewood read several other emails that he and Streater exchanged.
“I don’t have the expetise, experience, or desire to do anything at DSS, but to keep this building on track and make sure it’s well-constructed,” Gatewood said.
“I have had several calls about you being in that building, like you and I discussed on that evening you’re talking about,” Streater said.
The chairman also said he must have been absent from a Social Services board meeting when Gatewood was assigned to the office.
“I don’t remember the DSS board assigning you that office,” he added.
Streater asked Gatewood to vacate the office.
“No, I’m not going to do that, Chairman Streater,” Gatewood said. “This is a Social Services board decision; and if they want me to vacate, I will do so.”
Streater asked County Manager Barron Monroe to find a space in the county’s government building for Gatewood.
At the end of the meeting, Gatewood went on to say that he apologized for his ademacy on refusing to vacate his DSS office. He added that he was given the office, so long as the commisiioners supported it.
“Based off what I’m hearing tonight, I have no choice but to vacate that office because you no longer support the DSS new building,” Gatewood said.