Don’t jump for joy just yet

Published 8:07 pm Friday, September 20, 2019

Consulting firm Hay/McBer identified six types of management styles: Directive, Authoritative, Affiliative,

Participative, Pacesetting, Coaching.

Somewhere within that mix is Loria Williams.

There are those who say the Hertford County Manager is more along the lines of an authoritative leader, one that takes a firm, and often times demanding, stance when dealing with those under her watchful eye.

Others may see her as a pacesetting style of a manager, one that often motivates others by setting high standards of excellence.

Honestly, there is no right or wrong management style. The style chosen typically hinges on the nature of the business, the type of work involved, and, most importantly, the personalities and capabilities of the workers involved, their levels of experience and values.

This newspaper has covered Hertford County Local Government forever, including the past 14 and one-half years that Williams has sat in the manager’s chair. While we sometimes disagreed with some of the decisions she reached, we learned one very valuable attribute she brought to the table….Williams had the ability to rub two nickels together and produce 50 cents.

When Williams arrived in Winton from Warren County in August of 2005, she inherited one of the state’s highest property tax rates (91 cents per $100 of value). That was also a time of aging county-owned infrastructure, which forced the use of tax dollars for upkeep that could have been wisely spent elsewhere.

That tax rate remained in place (and the infrastructure still crumbling) until it was lowered to 84 cents in 2011-12. That same 84 cents remains in place today due to her budgetary skills.

But what you really need to take into consideration are the infrastructure improvements since the tax rate was lowered. A new $14 million county courthouse/administration building has opened; there were over $2 million worth of improvements to the old administrative space now occupied by Hertford County Department of Social Services….which, by the way, prevented Hertford County from having to construct a new DSS building; a new E-911 Emergency Operations / Dispatch Center (somewhere in the neighborhood of $3 to $4 million); and current plans on the drawing board to build a new Ahoskie Elementary School, projected with a $15 million price tag.

That’s not counting reconfiguring the pay scale for all county employees; updating computers/technology, and purchasing new vehicles for the Sheriff’s Office, EMS, Public Works, etc.

And let’s not forget that all this came at a time when medical insurance rates skyrocketed, another financial burden placed on the county.

There are those who perhaps jumped for joy when they learned that Williams plans to retire effective Jan. 1, 2020. We would caution them not to leap too high just yet….a new direction on the county’s Board of Commissioners and a new County Manager may result in a management style that’s not in the best interest of the majority of the county.

Stay tuned!

– The Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald