Freeman appointed to ABC Board

Published 7:15 am Tuesday, June 4, 2013

WINTON – Curtis Freeman said there is no personal agenda with him seeking a seat on the Hertford County ABC Board.

Howard Hunter III stated that membership of that board should not include a county commissioner.

Those two commissioners had a difference of opinion here Monday morning during the regularly scheduled meeting of Hertford County’s governing board. In the end, following a 4-1 vote, Freeman was elected to a three-year term on the county’s ABC Board.

The issue came before the commissioners as part of their scheduled agenda, a portion of which was a listing of several boards where the terms of its members were nearing expiration. The county commissioners have the responsibility to appoint members to those service boards.

Among the action needed to be taken was an appointment to the ABC Board, which consists of five members serving staggered terms. June 30 of this year marks the expiration of a three-year term of ABC Board member Hazel Pierce. She has served on that board since June, 2004 and had submitted a letter to the commissioners asking to be reappointed.

Two others – Larry Holloman and Quinton Turman, both of Ahoskie – also filled out an application seeking the appointment to the ABC Board.

Prior to any discussion on the appointment, Commission Vice Chairman Bill Mitchell put a motion on the floor to appoint Freeman to Pierce’s seat.

“I’m not in agreement with Commissioner Freeman being on the ABC Board,” Hunter said following Mitchell’s motion. “I make a motion we approve Hazel Pierce.”

Commissioner Johnnie Ray Farmer asked Freeman to clarify information about his resignation from the county’s Department of Social Services Board.

“I resigned from the Social Services Board because on the nights they meet I have another obligation,” Freeman said. “This ABC Board issue is nothing new; we’ve talked about it several times in the past about one of the commissioners being on that board. You (Farmer) even asked me at one time would I consider being on the ABC Board and I told you that I would.”

“It’s one of the highest paid boards in the county,” said Hunter, referencing the $150 per meeting stipend earned by ABC Board members. “I feel that a commissioner does not need to serve on that board. I know you (Freeman) have stated in the past the need for citizens to apply to serve on these boards. I know that we commissioners are also citizens of this county, but we need to leave this to the citizens.”

In the vote, Mitchell, Commissioner Ronald Gatling, Farmer and Freeman voted for Freeman’s appointment to the ABC Board. Hunter cast the lone “no” vote.

In a phone call placed to the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald following the meeting, Freeman again brought up the fact that the commissioners had discussed the possibility of having one of their own on the ABC Board.

“That was due to some irregularities on the ABC Board,” he explained. “We felt it was best for one of us to serve on that board. It’s not something I particularly wanted to do or was it something I went after, rather it was more along the lines of having a commissioner on that board.”

The remaining members of the Hertford County ABC Board (with their term expirations listed in parenthesis) are: Winfred Hardy of Ahoskie (6/30/2014), Karen Rowe of Winton (1/31/2015), Lonnie Simmons of Murfreesboro (1/31/2015), and Lillie Owens-White of Murfreesboro (6/30/2015).

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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