MONROE – "If you don't quit telling lies or half-truths on Facebook," Union County Commissioner Dennis Rape said, "I'll start telling the truth about you."
"Tell me the lie," Commissioner Stony Rushing replied during the board's July 19 meeting. "You want me to go and start telling the truth about you? I'll tell it on Facebook where 5,000 people can see it."
The heated exchange took place when Rape and Chairman Richard Helms added an item to the agenda regarding a comment Rushing made on his own July 9 Facebook post.
Rushing explained that a Union County resident requested his credit report. Proud, the commissioner made a post announcing his credit score, 811, and some other info. In the comments, Rushing got into a debate with a Montgomery County resident who didn't agree with exactly how Rushing was using his 811 credit score to reflect his character as a politician.
It was a comment Rushing made during this online debate that alarmed other commissioners.
"I have had mortgages since I bought my 1st house at 23," Rushing wrote on Facebook, "As an elected official I would worry about fellow elected officials drowning in debt. They may be more likely to be bought off. I think that was the point of the voter who asked to see our scores."
Helms was offended, but Rushing couldn't figure out why.
"There's an old saying," Rushing said. "If you throw a rock in a pen of pigs, the one you hit squeals the loudest. I didn't throw a rock at any of you guys, but y'all are sitting here taking up county resources and time to chastise me."
Helms and Rape both thought Rushing's comment was painted with a "large brush."
"The point is I didn't attack any of you in that post," Rushing said. "To my knowledge, each of you has outstanding credit and are outstanding businessmen… I have to apologize for what you perceive rather than what I'm saying. I'm not your enemy because I have a difference of opinion with you on taxes, on water and sewer rates."
"If you're my friend," Rape said, "I don't need enemies."
Fingers were pointed and commissioners accused each other of "politicking."
"Challenge me on social media where y'all are complaining," Rushing said, "or block me."
Helms said, "If you have a disagreement or an opinion about one of us, be a man. Talk to our face. Don't hide behind the keyboard."