Published 10:30 am Monday, December 17, 2012
WINDSOR – Bertie County citizens who want to become involved in their local community will soon begin having more of an opportunity.
At their meeting Dec. 3, the Bertie County Commissioners agreed in principal to advertise board vacancies and to allow citizens to fill out a simple application to express interest in serving.
The suggestion came from newly seated Commissioner Ronald D. Wesson, who said he believed more citizens should be allowed to serve.
“When you look at the list of board appointments you see some that are serving on three or four boards,” Wesson said during the meeting. “I would like for us to consider an alternative method.”
The commissioner said other counties in the area advertise vacancies on boards to allow citizens the opportunity to express interest in serving.
During an interview Friday, Wesson said his intent was simply to allow every citizen the chance to serve if they so desired.
“I have always said we have a lot of great and capable people who haven’t gotten involved because they don’t feel welcome or, in some cases, simply don’t feel needed,” he said. “We do need them and need them desperately.
“It shouldn’t be our job as county commissioners to go out and find folks, but to allow them to volunteer,” he continued. “Yes, we can find folks if we need to, but this allows people with expertise in certain areas to offer their services.”
Wesson said many people have talents that commissioners and others wouldn’t know they posses unless they have the opportunity to provide the information as part of their effort to volunteer. He said many people have advanced degrees or expertise in areas and could benefit the county and the boards immensely.
The commissioner also made it clear he isn’t trying to push people out of positions they desire to hold as part of their community service.
“I simply want there to be alternatives,” he said. “If people enjoy serving and want to continue, by all means bring that to us. If they are serving simply because they feel no one else will, we need to allow others the opportunity to show they want to serve.”
Wesson said many counties surrounding Bertie already have the system in place. One of those is Hertford County, which advertises vacancies and takes applications which are presented to the commissioners when appointments are made.
“This is just a chance for people to get involved if they have an interest,” he closed. “We need to get more of our good and smart people involved in this county.”
Wesson’s recommendation was popular among the other members of the board.
“We struggle sometimes getting the participation we’d like,” Commissioner Rick Harrell said. “I think it’s a great idea.”
Commission Chairman J. Wallace Perry asked the board if they would agree to the change by consensus and all board members concurred.