PE Board Discusses More Pay

Published 4:25 pm Thursday, January 26, 2012

PRINCE EDWARD – County supervisors met in a called meeting Tuesday morning and, after agreeing to amend their agenda, discussed adding funds to pay board members $100 for attending called meetings.

Supervisor Howard Simpson offered that he had talked to most of the other board members and noted that they “feel that starting today… that for a full called, special called board meeting-no committee meetings-that $100 per meeting (be paid).

Those not attending the meeting would not get paid, he added.

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Simpson initially proposed authorizing the county administrator to put $15,000 in the budget to carry through June 30 (an amount that would be reduced in the motion) and that it be placed in the July budget for next year.

The issue had not been on the agenda for the meeting, but board members, all of whom were present, agreed to open the door for supervisors comments-thus opening up the discussion. In the end, Simpson, who had put the matter for approval in the form of a motion and putting aside $9,600, withdrew it.


Lockett District Supervisor Robert “Bobby” Jones said he had “reservations” about that, adding, “especially bringing it up at a meeting like this.” He suggested that it ought to be brought up at their regular monthly meeting and printed ahead of time.

“I don't know. I've noticed what surrounding counties pay their board of supervisors and we pay probably better than most…,” Jones also stated.

(According to County officials, board members are paid $9,000 annually, or $750 per month, with the chairman receiving $10,200 annually or $850 per month.)

Jones offered that this is the first he had heard from Simpson and that he was a little skeptical about passing it, but also passing it “at today's meeting. Definitely. (I) don't think that would look very appropriate in my opinion.”

Still, the concept received some support.

“I look at it this way-if we've got an employee who keeps on working and we don't pay him for it, we can get in trouble and technically, we're working for the county citizens and I think we should, on these special meetings, I think we should get paid something,” said Prospect Supervisor Howard “Pete” Campbell.

Campbell noted that he's talked to a couple of folks about having jobs “and the first thing I tell them that I have to come to these meetings. 'Well, how are you (going to) be able to work for me?' This is what I've heard. And I said, well I need to know about a week or so ahead of time when I've got a special meeting' … So far, I haven't got any of these part-time jobs I've been trying to get because of that. It would help me a lot…I think, personally.”

The County gave a bonus and raise to employees last year and Leigh District Supervisor Don Gantt said if, at that time, they had included the board in all of that that he would have felt better.

“I'm not saying it isn't deserved at all,” Gantt commented.

Jones suggested that it maybe would be better to look at it at budget time so they can see where they stand. He would also note that when he originally ran for the board 12 years ago he had no idea what they got paid. He cited that Mecklenburg supervisors are compensated $300 per month, offering that he was sure they have as much business to take care of as they do.

He assessed it's on the low side.

Asked about the number of meetings, County Administrator Wade Bartlett cited that $15,200 would be the equivalent of 19 meetings if all of the board members attended. He would also add that he didn't think they had that many meetings for the whole year.

Chairman William “Buckie” Fore speculated between 12-15, including budget work sessions, special work sessions and school board meetings and the like-meetings outside of the stated meetings.

Jones, once the motion was presented, offered that he was still against it, especially passing it in “this type of meeting, too…I expect we will get some public comment that we're not gonna like.”

Simpson noted that the meeting had been advertised and everything and people “know about it, so if they're not here, they are not here.”

Farmville District (801) supervisor Pattie Cooper-Jones, noted that the meeting was advertised, “but was it advertised that we were going to ask for this?”

Neither that nor the appropriations (which were also added-see below) were on the notice, it was cited.

Farmville District (701) Supervisor Jim Wilck said he was sitting in the middle, offering that he didn't see anything wrong with “the payment on the thing,” and that “Bobby…is making me a little uncomfortable about the meeting. I have to agree that maybe we'd better put it on the agenda (so) somebody can see it ahead of time and discuss it-not that I'm opposed to the motion. It's just the way that it was presented.”

Wilck would later suggest he would feel more comfortable bringing it back at an open meeting rather than voting it down.

Supervisor Charles McKay asked Simpson if he wanted to withdraw his motion until a later meeting, which he later did.

“If ya'll don't want to do it-I'm the one that asked practically everybody on here and they agreed…If you don't want to do it, say so and take it off of the agenda,” Simpson said.

He stated that he is not going to bring it back, offering that somebody else can.

In Other News…

*Bartlett presented an update on the status of property acquisition for the alternate Route 628 road project, planned just south of the existing intersection on Route 15 (across from the County's business park).

He noted that Davis Real Properties LLC has “not accepted our latest offer” and he recommended, and the board agreed, to initiate condemnation by authorizing the advertisement of a public hearing regarding the condemnation of the property using the quick take procedure.

Board members approved the recommendation. A public hearing is scheduled for February 7.

Using a quick-take essentially allows the county to control the land and the road project to move forward, but they can still negotiate on the price. Board members previously used a similar process for other property associated with the Route 628 alternate project.

*Board members also agreed to install a condenser enhancement kit and a soft start kit, which are expected to increase compressor life for HVAC units. The kits, funded at $23,000 tapping into revenues from taxes from public service corporations, equal the cost to replace a compressor. It was noted that the HVAC vendor has notified the County in order to renew the maintenance contract for the HVAC system that the county would need to install the kits. Without the addition, the company would not cover the compressors if they fail, a memo to the board cited.

Collections from taxes from public service corporations, it was also highlighted, exceed the budget by over $34,000.