Numerous Rowan County boards and committees have vacancies

Published 12:04 am Wednesday, December 21, 2022

SALISBURY — Members of the Rowan County Board of Commissioners have been struggling with appointing people to numerous boards and committees, mainly because no one is signing up.

“It’s a sign of the times. We don’t have as many folks volunteering because they just seemed to be stretched thin through kids, home and work and other volunteer organizations,” Commissioner Greg Edds said. “It’s increasingly difficult to operate those without good quality members.”

Currently, there are 41 board vacancies, especially in the Adult Care Home Advisory Committee, the Industrial Facilities and Pollution Control Financing Authority and the Nursing Home Advisory Committee. There are also quite a few vacancies in the Planning and Zoning Board for the towns of Spencer and Granite Quarry.

Commissioner Craig Pierce had a simple explanation for the vacancies: people do not know about the boards.

“They don’t know that they even exist,” Pierce said. “Unless you get involved in something that you are interested in, you don’t even know that there’s such a board available to you.”

But when people do join a board, they tend to stay on it for some time, Pierce said.

“When people gravitate to a board, they stay on it for awhile because they enjoy the community service that’s involved and they enjoy the movement of what’s going on in the county,” Pierce said.

Pierce served on two boards before he ran for county commissioner: the Planning and Zoning Board and the Airport Advisory Board. The only reason he found out about the boards and committees was because he was having a conversation about them with Sen. Carl Ford, who was a commissioner at the time. Pierce said if it was not for that conversation, he would have had no idea.

While there have been more vacancies than there are now during his time on the board of commissioners, Edds said the goal is always to have zero. He and the other commissioners talk it up as much as they can and are looking into other local organizations to find people who will make a good fit for the current openings.

“There’s organizations that come to mind like the Young Professionals Group and Leadership Rowan through the Chamber (of Commerce), those are great places for newly minted leaders that are coming out of those classes and courses,” Edds said. “That’s why the community is investing in them, so that they can get involved in stuff like this.”

To sign up, residents can go to the Rowan County website where they will find a list of open positions to apply for. The positions have explanations next to them so people can understand the role they are filling and the duties they will have if they get the job. There is also a list of how many people are on the given board and the names of other members that also serve.

Applications are sent to the clerk to the board and then reviewed by each of the commissioners. If the applicant is picked for the job, the commissioners will then make the appointment during the first meeting of the month. After the meeting, the board will then notify the applicant with their decision.

“We are always, always, always looking for good board members,” Edds said.