Cause and Symptom – Bertie Manager’s Salary

Published 11:52 am Sunday, February 13, 2011

To the Editor:

This 42% salary increase is just another symptom caused by a questionable leadership style by our County Commissioners.

Lack of Vision for the County and lack of accountability

Cause: I have yet to see the commissioners talk or publish and promote any strategic plan or vision for the county. They may have one, but I have never seen it publicized or heard of them soliciting input from the citizens on it.

Symptom:  As long as they don’t publish any specifics they can run on whatever record they choose to spin. Not a one of them is on the record with a vision that is specific and measureable. Our commissioners treat us like children. Their response to us says they don’t have to respond to our questions. They only take our comments under advisement.

Example of no accountability in recent salary increase

I had one commissioner (he asked me not to name him) tell me that the main reason for Mr. Lamb’s large increase was his law degree and his ability to save the county money in legal fees. I could understand that rationale to some degree. Then I asked what goal had they set for the county manager in reducing legal fees and after a moment of silence he said none. Equally shortsighted to the amount of the increase (which I disagree with), is the fact that no concrete goal was established for him to meet on reducing legal fees in the future. They should tell us what goals they set for our manager and they should report how he does in meeting them.

Example of no vision in Connecting Bertie

We had a private company that wanted to make a large investment (more than a $1 million) in Bertie to make our county the most connected county in the Northeast for high speed internet.  Our commissioners could have rescued this project with a small share of their $5 million dollar fund balance when school finances became challenged due to economic times.  The only comment I had made to me by a commissioner on Connect Bertie was would it connect his house.

Example of no vision in the landfill and new high school

For more than 2 years the commissioners have delayed increased revenues offered at our landfill without explaining to the public why they delay. Debt service on a new high school would seem highly serviceable by increasing the volume at the landfill but the commissioners will not share their reason for delay and have insisted a new high school must increase taxes.


Our commissioners keep us in the dark and should be transparent and responsive to the people they represent. Mr. Lamb’s salary fiasco is not his fault even if I think it excessive. The commissioners made a bad decision and are now trying to justify it however they can. Election 2012 is coming. The citizens have to get involved and insist on accountability and responsiveness.

Next commissioner’s meeting is 2/28 at 7 pm. Please be there.

John Davis

Merry Hill