Greenville mayor lashes out over Camping World layoffs

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Greenville Mayor P.J. Connelly says that over 100 Camping World employees will soon be out of a job.

Connelly in a Facebook post Wednesday morning railed against "a clique of Pitt County elected officials and bureaucrats" who he says will stick their heads in the sand over the news.

"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," Connelly's post stated.

Lauren White, Pitt County Commissioner says, "For Mayor Connelly to insinuate that it is the county's fault for any industry to close down is absolutely ridiculous. The county works to promote industry not close it."

Connelly says the employees work out of the distribution center on Statnon Road off of Highway 264.

Camping World, formerly Overtons, also has a showroom on Red Banks Road in Greenville. That retail location is not impacted by the layoffs.

The company told the North Carolina Department of Commerce the layoffs would occur at its facilities on Martin Luther King Junior Highway and on Stanton Road.

Camping World said these were permanent closings and resulted from the "consolidation of the company's retail business and the subsequent reduction in inventory."

On Tuesday we reached out to Camping World for information and never heard back.

Mayor Connelly's post:

"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 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."