HC EDC dissolves

Published 11:23 am Thursday, June 22, 2017

WINTON – The Hertford County Economic Development Commission (EDC) will dissolve effective June 30 and reorganize as an advisory council one day later, according to County Manager Loria Williams.

She says the change was implemented as part of the county’s Board of Commissioners, in its strategic planning sessions, having a desire to look at departments/boards that were aging out, how they are structured, and how they were moving forward in the future.

“It was the commissioners’ desire to make this change,” Williams said. “Other counties have made such changes….such as Halifax County as an example.”

Currently, the Hertford County EDC Director works at the pleasure of the EDC Board. The Director is paid by the EDC Board.

“That’s where this hybrid (EDC) organization comes in; that’s why EDC is markedly different than any other county board,” Williams said. “County money is used to fund EDC, to include the salaries of the Director and one other staff member. However, the EDC Board controlled and dispersed that money. Now, with the change through this resolution, the way we’ve done things over the years will be different as our EDC is completely under county control.”

At its regularly scheduled meeting on Monday evening, the county’s Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to approve a resolution that modifies how the local EDC operates.

“This issue has been discussed by the commissioners at prior meetings and work sessions,” said Williams. “This resolution puts into effect what was previously discussed in reference to how the county’s Economic Development Commission will be reorganized.”

The primary change, Williams said, would be that the EDC Director will become an employee of Hertford County rather than the EDC. Additionally, she said that all funds currently held by the Hertford County EDC will divert to the county.

“Those funds will be used specifically for economic development purposes,” Williams noted.

As part of the modification, the Hertford County EDC Board will become an advisory council. In the latter capacity, they will not have the authority to employ personnel, enter into contracts, or control funds.

All of these changes become effective July 1.

Ronald Gatling, chairman of the county commissioners, inquired if the current members of the EDC Board would have to reapply now that their status has been downgraded to an advisory council.

“No…..the current board will have the same terms (of office) they currently hold,” Williams answered. “It is recommended that they hold a reorganizational meeting under this new structure where they can appoint a chair and vice chair and set their meeting schedule. This resolution does require that they meet once every three months, or more often if needed.”

As part of Monday’s discussion leading up to the vote, Commissioner John Horton asked if the county’s EDC Director has a full-time employee (an administrative assistant). If so, Horton pointed to item two in the resolution that calls for the EDC Director to become an employee of the county.

“Shouldn’t that item read the EDC Director and staff become employees of the county,” Horton suggested.

“That’s a good point, Mr. Horton, we need to change that wording as you suggested,” Williams said.

Gatling also inquired about the per meeting stipends now received by the members of the EDC Board.

“How do we address that now that they use to meet every month, but this resolution calls for them to meet once every three months,” Gatling asked.

“The resolution says they must meet once per quarter, but they can elect to meet every month if they choose to, and their stipends will remain the same,” Williams answered.

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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