Hold Commissioners accountable

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 9, 2005

By face value, Hertford County has hired a bright, young woman to handle the day-by-day operations of county government.

By her own admission, recently hired Hertford County Manager Loria Williams brings a less than spotless record into her new job.

As the top administrator for eight years in nearby Warren County, Williams spent the final few months in that position fighting for her professional career.

There were allegations that she improperly used prison inmate labor. For that alleged mistake in judgment, she served a one-month suspension. Later, a probe by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation cleared her of any wrongdoing.

She also served a spell in the Warren County Board of Commissioners "doghouse" for going against county policy and awarding herself compensatory payment. She agreed to those findings and repaid the county for that time.

As it is with any county manager's position across the state, the top administrator is a mere majority vote away from dismissal. County managers work at the discretion of the board of commissioners. On one given day they can be gainfully employed; the next may find them on the unemployment line.

Such was the case for Williams as she was fired, by a 3-2 vote, on July 29.

Ten days later, she is back in the saddle, this time as Hertford County's top administrator.

Should previous transgressions be held against her n certainly not. However, should those same scenarios surface in Hertford County, the citizens should expect no less from those they placed in office.

Like a county manager, those empowered by a majority vote to hold the position of county commissioner are elected to serve the citizens. It's the citizens who hold the power, not vice-versa. The board of county commissioners works for the people, not for their personal gain. All it takes is a simple majority vote every four years to end that fragile relationship.

Upon casting their favor toward Williams, it is hopeful that the Hertford County Board of Commissioners completed their homework prior to making a final decision. Her past history is well documented in Warren County.

However, life does serve up a mulligan every now and then. Perhaps a change in environment is all that Williams needs to showcase her skills and lead Hertford County towards a bright future.

The citizens of this county deserve no less than her best effort.