BOC meeting remains as scheduled

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 26, 2004

WINTON – Give John Pierce credit; at least he tried.

Appearing before the Hertford County Commissioners here last week, Pierce – a Commissioner-Elect after defeating incumbent Brenda Greene in the July primary – made two requests in regards to the scheduled Dec. 6 meeting of the Board.

In an effort to allow additional family and friends to attend his swearing in ceremony, Pierce requested to move the Dec. 6 meeting to anytime in-between Dec. 1-5. He said that special called meeting could be used only for &uot;ceremonial purposes&uot; in order, &uot;for me to be ready to go right to work for the citizens of Hertford County on Dec. 6.&uot;

If the Commissioners decided against that proposal, Pierce suggested moving the Dec. 6 meeting from its scheduled 9 a.m. start to 7 p.m.

&uot;A lot of my family members and friends would love to attend that (9 a.m.) meeting, but they cannot because of work schedules,&uot; noted Pierce. &uot;They would have to take leave time from work to attend that meeting. Holding it at 7 p.m. would be a better idea.&uot;

Pierce continued, &uot;There’s nothing better than placing your hand on the Bible and swearing or, if you don’t believe in swearing, affirming the oath of office. That way the public can look you in the eye when you take that oath and hold you accountable for your actions as an elected official.&uot;

Pierce said he had discussed his two suggestions with Howard Hunter III, another new Commissioner who is scheduled to be sworn in, and confirmed that Hunter was in agreement with moving the Dec. 6 meeting to a 7 p.m. start.

Hunter did not attend last week’s meeting.

Commissioner Curtis Freeman made an attempt to grant Pierce’s first request. After a brief discussion, he motioned for a 7 p.m. special called meeting on Dec. 2. Vernice Howard seconded the motion.

Board Chairman Johnnie Ray Farmer questioned the legitimacy of swearing in a Commissioner prior to a scheduled meeting. Following a check of the State Statute, Board Attorney Chuck Revelle said the law required swearing-in ceremonies to occur, &uot;on the first Monday in December following the general election.&uot; The law did not go as far as to specify a time for a swearing-in to occur.

With that, Freeman withdrew his motion, prompting Pierce to say, &uot;I would prefer this swearing-in to be official and within the law. If the State Statute calls for a swearing-in to be held on the first Monday (in December), then we must follow what the law reads.&uot;

Pierce’s request to move the Dec. 6 meeting to a 7 p.m. start died for the lack of a motion.