GREENVILLE, PITT COUNTY - Both candidates for Greenville's mayoral office had a chance to address some of their potential voters Tuesday.
Current mayor Allen Thomas and candidate Tom Best took part in the debate. Best says he is "coming out of retirement to provide the talent and skills I have to lead this city forward." Best hopes to take the managerial and critical thinking skills he learned through decades of working for IBM to office.
Mayor Thomas, with his deep political background, hopes to continue to take strides to grow the city in his potential second term.
Best claims that Thomas has micromanaged during his tenure as mayor. "I think we need change particularly when it comes to civility and our leadership," said Best. He believes Thomas has been doing jobs which should be left for the city manager, which has hurt morale of city officials.
Mayor Thomas says by getting involved, he has benefited Greenville. "If you sit back sometimes and don't make your voice heard, you're not doing what needs to be done for the city," he said.
Both candidates acknowledged that crime and the economy are two major issues facing the city.
"There are a lot of people that are homegrown, that live right here unfortunately, that are committing crimes. Now, if everyone has a job, the have hope," said Best. Mayor Thomas agreed, saying "economic development is as important as having a crack police force."
Best plans to continue economic growth which is taking place thanks to current projects, providing "a living wage to everyone. With benefits that protect all people." He also says he plans to continue in the same direction by creating new projects.
Mayor Thomas believes his administration is responsible for the city's economic growth and in turn, drop in crime, which he says "is down 13 percent in this city since the start of 2013. So we're headed in the right direction."
The candidates also gave three minute speeches at Peasant's Pub on Tuesday.
Early voting begins Thursday and election day is November 5th.