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Pay hike request tabled

WINTON – The Hertford County ABC Board wants a raise.

The Hertford County Board of Commissioners said they need more time to study that request.

The issue came to light here Monday during the regularly scheduled monthly meeting of the commissioners. On their agenda was a request from the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission in regards to the level of compensation paid to local ABC Boards in each county across the state.

Due to recent changes in state legislation of salaries paid to members of local ABC Boards, the state Commission asked for a statement of those monthly stipends if they exceed $150.

Currently, the Chair of the Hertford County ABC Board (Hazel Pierce) is paid $275 per month. The other two board members, Winfred Hardy Jr. and Lillie Owens-White, each receive $225 monthly.

“Your appointing authority (the commissioners) will need to make an affirmative statement that effective October 1, 2010 these (monthly salary) levels are still approved,” wrote Laurie Lee, State ABC Commission Auditor, in an e-mail sent to Clarence M. Jordan, General Manager of the Hertford County ABC Board.

“You need to attest to that fact (of the current salaries),” Hertford County Manager Lorie Williams told the commissioners at their Monday meeting. “If you still approve of the current salaries we pay to our local ABC Board, it needs to be recorded in the minutes of our meeting here today and a certified copy of those minutes is required to be sent to the State ABC Commission.”

A motion was made and approved to send the minutes of Monday’s meeting to the State ABC Commission regarding the current salaries of the Hertford County ABC Board.

However, before that was approved, Jordan asked for a raise for the three-member local board.

Noting an increase in the profitability of the Hertford County ABC stores, Jordan requested a $25 monthly salary hike for each member – taking the Chair to $300 and the other board representatives to $250.

“We’re doing very well (financially),” Jordan said. “Our profits are up over last year.”

Jordan noted that Hertford County’s three ABC stores (Ahoskie, Murfreesboro and Winton) showed a net profit of $100,987 as of June. That was up from $65,803 from June, 2009.

Two Hertford County Commissioners had questions for Jordan. Ronald Gatling asked how frequently the local ABC Board met and what issues did they address at those meetings. Howard Hunter III inquired of what ABC Boards in surrounding counties were paid each month.

Commission Vice-Chairman Curtis Freeman offered a motion to table the pay increase request in an effort to gain additional information. His motion was amended upon Hunter’s request to include facts of what ABC Boards were paid in northeastern North Carolina counties comparable to the population of Hertford County.

That motion was approved in a 5-0 vote.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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