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Harrell steps down as BOC chair

WINDSOR – It’s time for a change.

That’s what the current chairman of the Bertie County Commissioners thinks.

Rick Harrell, who has served as chairman for the last four years, announced Tuesday that he will not seek or accept nomination for that seat during the upcoming term.

&uot;I believe it is important to have a change,&uot; Harrell stated during Tuesday’s press conference.

He continued, &uot;We (the commissioners) are a solid team. This will give someone else the incredible opportunity to see things from a different perspective and learn more about local government.&uot;

The nominations and election of the board’s chairman and vice-chairman are set for next Monday’s meeting (Dec. 3).

Each year at the board’s first meeting in December, the leadership positions are chosen for the following year.

In addition to his four years as chairman, Harrell served the three years prior to that as vice-chairman. He has been on the board for a total of 10 years.

&uot;It’s important for us as a board for others to step up in a leadership role,&uot; Harrell stated.

He added that there are no conflicts and no hardships as the reason behind his stepping down, but rather that he just felt it was time for a change.

&uot;We are unified as a board and we have a vision of where we want to go for the future of Bertie County,&uot; Harrell said.

He noted that County Manager Zee Lamb played an important part in the county’s marked progress over the last seven years.

Lamb was first employed with the county in 2000, the first year Harrell began holding a leadership position.

Since that time, the county has funded renovations for existing elementary schools, built a new middle school, a new Department of Social Services building, a new Health Department building and constructed a county recreation complex.

Lamb remarked to Harrell, &uot;Under your leadership and the board’s direction, the county has moved forward.&uot;

Harrell replied, &uot;Our best times are still in front of us. We’re seeing some of the potential we might have.&uot;

He added that he was not planning to step down as a commissioner, just as the board’s chairman.

&uot;I’ll be a commissioner for as long as Bertie County (citizens) will let me be a commissioner,&uot; he said.

Harrell described the people of Bertie County as fair, credible good folks who want progress.

He added, &uot;Bertie County is an incredible place. Poor as we may be, we have resources that a lot of counties don’t and we need to protect those resources.&uot;

Harrell stated that he believes the board will grow as a whole and each member can grow as an individual by him stepping down as chairman.

&uot;I will be a better board member not being chair because I’ve already been chair and whoever becomes chair will be a better board member too,&uot; he stated.

Harrell also expressed his faith in each member of the board and said that he thinks any one of them could do a great job as the new chairman.

&uot;There is no doubt in my mind that each member of the board has the ability to do it,&uot; he said.

The commissioners will meet Monday at 10 a.m. to decide just who that will be.