Bertie commissioner lauded

Published 2:25 pm Sunday, September 6, 2015

GREENVILLE – Bertie County Board of Commissioners Chairman Ronald Wesson was recognized last month by the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners for meeting the requirements for the Practitioner Level in the Local Elected Leaders Academy (LELA). A Practitioner means one has completed a minimum of 48 credits in leadership training for county elected officials (18 orientation credits + 18 focused in-depth credits + 12 elective credits).

The LELA is a partnership with the UNC School of Government, the N.C. Association of County Commissioners and the N.C. League of Municipalities.  It offers local elected officials the knowledge and skills needed to lead and govern their communities.

“When my fellow Commissioners elected me chairman I felt I had a lot to learn,” Wesson said. “I took a lot of their classes to prepare myself to be the best chairman that I could be.”

County commissioners are recognized for their participation in both educational programs and service to the Association. The starting point for earning credits is the orientation program, the Essentials of County Government. As commissioners increase education and service they earn credits toward recognition at three levels: Practitioner, Master and Mentor. The NCACC tracks credits and recognizes participation every year at its annual conference.

“These are leadership classes where you cover things like how to run meetings, dispute resolution, and the like,” Wesson added. “It’s tailored to the types of things that county commissioners run into.”

Wesson said while there are those who question the necessity of some of the leadership training, particularly since the counties usually maintain the expense, a big part of that expense is underwritten by some private agencies.

“The State Employees Credit Union picks up much of the tab,” Wesson explained. “They actually offer scholarships and they pay the registration for our classes. Those who apply for it are usually approved in most cases and we’re grateful for that because they know our budget for these things help stretch the dollars.”

Wesson says the interaction with other commissioners from across the state pays dividends in things that can be brought back home.

“LELA recognizes county commissioners who have dedicated themselves to becoming effective local leaders for their communities,” said NCACC Executive Director Kevin Leonard. “The roles and responsibilities of county commissioners are constantly changing, and the LELA program helps them keep up with the latest information.”