Changes ahead for Board of Commissioners

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 3, 2009

By Jessie Burchette

Salisbury Post

The newly-constituted Rowan County Board of Commissioners has already changed the way it will do business.

The board wasted little time Monday night in changing the meeting schedule, and board members appeared willing to make other changes in how the board functions.

New Commissioner Tina Hall suggested and drew unanimous support to change the time of the first meeting each month. The board will now meet at 4 p.m. instead of 7 p.m.

The earlier time is expected to help with what is expected to be longer upcoming meetings.

The second meeting of each month will remain at 7 p.m.

Both regular January meetings fall on holidays, New Year’s Day and Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The board moved its first January session to Jan. 4, a Thursday, at 4 p.m. The second January meeting will take place Jan. 16, a Tuesday, at 7 p.m.

Chairman Arnold Chamberlain distributed the list of 30 committees, commissions and panels that get one or more commissioners as a liaison.

Chamberlain asked each board member to rate which they would most like to serve on — with 1 the least and 10 the favorite.

Vice Chairman Chad Mitchell questioned the need for commissioners to serve as liaisons to so many committees. He called for a review to see if it is important that a commissioner be appointed to each panel or board.

Chamberlain suggested they review the list and see if some can be eliminated. He also suggested some of the boards or committees may need to disbanded and start over with fresh appointees.

Chamberlain said liaisons act to provide a flow of information to and from the board. “Some people think liaison means advocate. It doesn’t mean advocate,” Chamberlain said. “It doesn’t mean we have to attend the meetings.”

Commissioner Jim Sides noted that some of the appointments must be made by the full Board of Commissioners. Among those are the appointees to the Board of Social Services and the Board of Health. A commissioner serves as a voting member of those boards.

The appointments will be made later this month.

Chamberlain used persuasion to convince Hall to serve as the county’s voting delegate to the N.C. Association of County Commissioners Jan. 11-12. Chamberlain pointed out that he and Hall are the only commissioners who don’t have a job. Both are retired.

When Hall didn’t seem eager to volunteer, Chamberlain turned to her husband, David, who was seated in the audience, pointing out that the meeting takes place in Pinehurst, a great place to go in January.

That apparently worked, with Commissioner Hall agreeing to go.

The board will decide on what issues to support or oppose at the state gathering.

Contact Jessie Burchette at 704-797-4254 or jburchette