Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Jessie Burchette
Salisbury Post
The county’s finance director, who is doing double duty as interim county manager, drew high praise from commissioners this week.
Leslie Heidrick has been serving as interim county manager since Jan. 1, following the departure of Bill Cowan.
Heidrick, the county’s finance officer for almost 10 years, is also getting ready for the upcoming work of preparing a budget for the next fiscal year.
“Leslie Heidrick is doing one whale of a job,” said Arnold Chamberlain, chairman of the Rowan County Board of Commissioners.
Chamberlain noted that Heidrick suddenly found herself thrown into a new role, which includes “having to deal with me.”
“We’re getting our money’s worth,” Chamberlain said. He added that she comes from good stock รณ Harold Earnhardt. A retired brigadier general and commander of the N.C. Air National Guard, Earnhardt is also a former mayor of Rockwell.
Other commissioners added their praise at the Monday night session and joked about what Heidrick might be doing in her “spare time.”
In other matters, the board:
– Advised Rowan-Salisbury School System officials that any money left over from the special classroom supply fund will be returned to the county in future years.
Tara Trexler, finance director for the school system, had told the county that the system used $52,545 left unspent by the teachers.
The program is intended to reimburse classroom teachers up to $250 apiece for supplies they buy above the materials supplied by the school system.
Rowan-Salisbury gets around $375,000 each year for the program.
Chamberlain said commissioners dropped the ball this year and should have made clear that money not spent by teachers had to be returned.
Commissioner Tina Hall said having leftover money revert to the county gives administrators a big incentive to make sure all eligible teachers participate. By letting it roll over to the system’s supply fund, Hall said, the incentive is eliminated.
“In no uncertain terms, money not spent by the teachers will be returned to the county in future years,” said Chamberlain said. He went on to pay tribute to the late Commissioner Frank Tadlock, who started the program more than eight years ago.
– Unanimously approved a resolution supporting Duke Energy’s plans to upgrade its Buck Steam Station site, including construction of a 620-megawatt combined cycle natural gas-fired plant.
The resolution will go to the State Utilities Commission.
Contact Jessie Burchette at 704-797-4254 or jburchette