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LEAF review team chosen

JACKSON — The review team that will narrow down Northampton County’s list of Golden LEAF Community Initiative projects has been chosen.

At a meeting here Tuesday night, attending citizens and officials selected the 12 people that will serve on the review team, a selection committee whose duty is to narrow down a list of 25 projects to put forth the strongest projects to the Golden LEAF Foundation Board. A Community Initiative grant for up to $2 million has been earmarked for Northampton County.

Among those chosen for the review team are: Roy Bell, Mayor of Garysburg, Doris “Peggy” Risper, Mayor of Rich Square, Jack Saunders of Henrico, Northampton County Schools’ Geneva Squire of Rich Square, John Foriest of Conway, Fasion Senior Center Director Rebecca Bayse of Woodland, Doug Hughes of Henrico, Mike Davis of Conway, Northampton County EMS Director Charles Joyner of Garysburg, Anna Deloatch of Jackson, Stephen Jackson of Jackson and Clarence Drumgoole of Henrico.

The 12 members were selected by four sub-committees (Economic Development, Education and Technology, Emergency Services and Community Services) made up of those who attended the meeting.

Each sub-committee made a list of nominees and from that list voted for three individuals to serve on the review team.

When the group came back together with their three choices, Anthony Clark questioned the selection of Risper for the review team. At first Clark said he didn’t believe Risper was on the Economic Development sub-committee and didn’t understand how she could one of the choices.

Golden LEAF officials asked if Risper was not one of the three top vote getters. Bell along with Saunders received the highest votes within that sub-committee with nine each, while Risper beat out another candidate, who received four votes, with five.

“I believe she’s not going to be fair to us,” said Clark.

Golden LEAF officials put the whole group to a vote as to whether or not allow the committee vote to stand. Risper was allowed to stay in a 15 to 8 vote, with some in attendance choosing not to vote.

“It sounds like we have a good mix of people,” said Golden LEAF Foundation President Dan Gerlach about the choices for the review team.

Gerlach said he didn’t want anyone to “stack the cards” during the review team’s process and noted the meetings will be open to everyone and the members of the team will sign each of their score sheets for each project.

Golden LEAF Vice President of Programs/Community Assistance & Outreach Pat Cabe said the review team will score each of the projects during their effort to narrow down the list. The members will also have sign conflict of interest forms and recuse themselves from discussing and scoring projects they are involved with.

Before breaking into the sub-committees, Cabe said the toughest part for the team will be narrowing a list of 25 projects totaling $6,192,461.50 in requested Golden LEAF funds to $2 million.

“You really want to take the strongest projects forward,” she said.

She added each member of the team will have to “put on the same jersey” and keep Northampton County’s interests in mind.

Golden LEAF Project Facilitator Amy Nagle said criteria the team will be considering while ranking the project proposals include:

How does it directly relate to key issue areas and priority objectives.

It’s potential to impact the most number of citizens.

The potential to achieve the desired results.

Applicant’s ability/capacity to achieve desired objectives.

Sustainability

Partner support and participation

Leverages new or existing resources

A timeline agreed upon by the group places scoring sheets out to the review team by Friday. Those sheets are due back to the Golden LEAF Foundation by March 4. The review team plans to meet on March 9 for their first meeting.

The group is targeting to have a slate of priority projects by or before April 1 so those projects can be presented to the Golden LEAF board during their June meeting.

During a review of the 26 projects, Gerlach noted one project had been withdrawn (Garysburg Recreational Program), bringing the total number of projects to 25.