Closed session minutes made public

Published 8:49 am Tuesday, March 22, 2011

WINDSOR – The Bertie County Commissioners have released minutes from their closed session on August 17, 2009.

Those minutes were requested by the Friends of Bertie-Rescind the Raise committee and were released to that group and to the media by Bertie County Attorney Lloyd Smith.

The minutes deal, in part, with the contract approved by the commissioners for Bertie County Manager Zee Lamb in which he received a salary increase of more than $42,000 annually.

The minutes show that the board discussed the contract with Lamb and then discussed it on their own before approving it.

Lamb discussed each section of his proposed contract including his education, qualifications and accomplishments in Bertie County.

“County Manager Zee Lamb mentioned that the Beaufort County Manager, who has six years experience and who does not have a law degree, had just received an increase to $135,000 per year,” the minutes read. “County Manager Lamb also discussed the salary of the Dare County Manager who is an attorney and the County Attorney added that his compensation is approximately $300,000 per year.”

Commissioner J. Wallace Perry asked about the upcoming state budget and how it would impact Bertie County. Lamb then discussed the expenditures and that the county would be okay for the coming year.

Smith suggested that a section in the contract should deal with termination and recommended that the contract include a provision to discharge Lamb with cause if “he is convicted of a felony or for grossly inefficient job performance or unacceptable personal conduct.’

At that point, the minutes reflect that the board asked all in attendance – which included Lamb, Assistant County Manager Morris Rascoe, Smith and Clerk to the Board Misty Deanes – to leave the room.

The minutes reflect that Commissioner Rick Harrell felt Lamb was beneficial to the county.

“Commissioner Harrell stated that County Manager Lamb has been a tremendous asset to Bertie County and he could remember the days before Zee Lamb,” Mr. Harrell stated that he did think County Manager Lamb being an attorney is a real advantage to Bertie County.”

Harrell suggested that Lamb could handle some legal matters rather than having them sent to the county attorney. Perry discussed some of those matters.

The minutes also said then Board Chairman Norman M. Cherry Sr. believed Lamb being an attorney was beneficial.

Commissioner Harrell then brought up the salary of Rascoe and the board members discussed the need to increase his salary based on his performance and qualifications.

Turning back to Lamb’s contract, the board members discussed Lamb’s performance and the merit of giving him the raise, but also discussed the need for increasing salaries for other employees.

Cherry suggested there should be something that could be done for other employees as well and then Vice Chairman L.C. Hoggard III suggested the board look at the possibility of providing an increase for all employees in December.

The board then agreed to accept the contract and, after emerging from closed session, voted to approve it.