Camping World layoffs frustrates Greenville mayor


GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Greenville Mayor P.J. Connelly is calling out local elected leaders on social media.

He says they’re likely to stick their heads in the sand over the news of upcoming job losses.

Connelly is talking about Camping World’s plan to lay off more than 100 workers at the company’s Greenville distribution center.

Economic development is on the minds of many in the Greenville and Pitt County, but the mayor says his fellow elected leaders don’t do enough to foster development.

On Facebook Connelly says there’s a “clique” of Pitt County elected leaders who, when it comes to efforts to promote new jobs and business growth, are content to see those efforts fail.

He criticizes them for pulling out of the Greenville ENC alliance, which works to unify the economic development process.

Mayor Connelly also has a message for camping world employees facing the loss of their jobs.

“I know I’ve talked to many of the industries that are in our area right now and they’re hiring. So I think we’re going to work really hard to be able to make sure that we can find them jobs but you know one thing I would like to tell them is that they’re not in this alone and we’re going to continue to work hard and fight for them and make sure that they do have a good employment,” he says. 

Mayor Connelly tells 9OYS he’s excited that the Greenville ENC Alliance is starting up its operations.

The group is in the implementation phase, but members are looking forward to hiring a new CEO in the next couple of months.

Below is the full Facebook post from Mayor Connelly. 

“I’ve had enough.

Last night, I learned that the 104 hard-working employees of our Camping World distribution center are receiving pink slips. Come April 11, 2020, they will be unemployed. There is never a good time for a job loss announcement, especially when it hits close to home.

Unfortunately, a clique of Pitt County elected officials and bureaucrats will hear this news and stick their heads in the sand, just as they did when we were reclassified as a Tier 1 county underperforming in job growth by the NC Department of Commerce. You’ll see some of their names on the ballot over the coming months. They see human tragedies like these, which cause painful conversations around the dinner table, and shrug — as long as Pitt County keeps the whip hand over industrial and manufacturing recruitment and retention efforts, they’re content. They’re content to fail. And that’s wrong.

For the past year-plus, well-respected private sector entities, major medical and educational institutions, and neighboring towns have sat at the table alongside the City of Greenville and Pitt County to hammer out the details of the Greenville-ENC Alliance. Motivated only by power, certain players in the county government pulled out of the Alliance at the last minute. For them, there was little appetite for combining all of our resources and efforts towards securing for future generations a prosperous and fun Pitt County. Instead, they wish to preserve an outdated economic development model that has produced zero new industry for Pitt County over the last two decades.

Those who oppose the Greenville-ENC Alliance should reconsider. Stuffing your heads into the sand makes you part of the problem when 104 men and women have to think quickly about how to make a living after April 11th. How many more people have to lose before Pitt County elected officials and bureaucrats realize that economic development means teamwork?

I’ve had enough. The City of Greenville stands ready and willing to cooperate with the public and private sectors because you deserve leadership that improves your quality of life, not silly power games. I think you’d agree. Listen up, Pitt County: Let’s pool our resources and finally support the excellent work the Greenville-ENC Alliance is doing before it’s too late, not just for us but for all of eastern North Carolina.”

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