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Whitehurst offers new objectives

WINTON – There’s not a new sheriff in town.

But there is a new manager in Hertford County.

Interim County Manager John Ed Whitehurst made his presence known in his first meeting with the Hertford County Board of Commissioners Monday morning.

During the County Manager’s Update, Whitehurst made clear some of the goals and objectives for his stint in the county manager’s seat.

&uot;First, I want to thank you for your confidence in me and allowing me to serve as your interim county manager,&uot; Whitehurst told the Board. &uot;As you know, my first priority will be working on the budget.&uot;

While working on the 2005-2006 fiscal year budget, Whitehurst will also be trying to help day-to-day operations run more smoothly in the county.

One of the issues the new manager will address is the county’s banking and investment structure.

&uot;It has been some time since the county advertised for checking accounts and investments,&uot; Whitehurst said. &uot;There are better deals out there than the one the county has now.&uot;

He indicated that he would be working with Finance Director Robbin Stephenson to present a proposal to be issued by the commissioners.

He said the county was investing funds that would not be required for short periods of time, but that those investments could be drawing more money, possibly in the neighborhood of $100,000 with the right investments.

The interim county manager also said he would be meeting with department heads today (Tuesday) to discuss some issues.

&uot;It will deal more with my philosophy and my management style,&uot; he said. &uot;I want everyone to understand that I am here to help them, but at the same time I want every employee to do their very best for Hertford County. I will assume they do that until it is proven otherwise.&uot;

To that end, Whitehurst said there were several areas he would address including time sheets, hours and organizational structure.

He said time sheets should be accurate and appropriately documented.

&uot;Whoever is responsible for signing time sheets, be it department heads or the county manager, or whomever, we will make sure they do.&uot;

He also said there would be a renewed emphasis on the county’s working hours.

&uot;The county offices are open from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m.,&uot; he said. &uot;I realize some people have come in at noon and then worked until late at night to make up the hours, but I want our personnel available to the public.&uot;

He said he would stress that all county employees should be working between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. on a regular basis. He also said that any compensation time would be looked at closely.

&uot;The county manager should approve comp time for department heads and the department heads should approve comp time for employees, but only when in unusual situations when it is required,&uot; he said.

Whitehurst also said he and Assistant County Manager Pat Weaver had been searching for an organizational chart, but had yet to locate one.

&uot;&uot;We are looking to prepare an organizational chart because it is important that we know who works for who,&uot; he said. &uot;That is something we will be working on in the coming days.&uot;

Whitehurst also brought a proposal to the Board to raise the mileage allowance for the county’s employees from 36 cents per mile to 40.5 cents per mile. That will bring the county in line with the state allowance.

Commissioner Johnnie Ray Farmer asked where the extra money would come from and Whitehurst said he would ask departments to look within their own budget first because the current budget would only last three more months.

On a motion from Commissioner John Pierce, which was seconded by Farmer, the Board voted unanimously (4-0) in favor of the recommendation. Commissioner Curtis A. Freeman was not present.