02/13/04 — Meeting of minds: Turnout is good for leaders’ workshop

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Meeting of minds: Turnout is good for leaders’ workshop

There was a splendid turnout Monday for a meeting of governing boards in Wayne County. That the county’s decision-makers are talking to one another is good news. Occasionally they get out of the habit.

Monday’s session in the offices of the Board of Education was one of the steps in a project initiated by the county Board of Commissioners. The first was a workshop in September led by a consultant.

The commissioners’ purpose was to make sure they and the school board and town governments are moving in step. Atlas Price, who was the commissioners’ chairman at the time, has long been a strong advocate for pulling people and boards together. His successor in the chairman’s seat, Ken Gerrard, apparently is following suit.

That’s good. We need all the unity and teamwork that we can get.

At Monday’s session, in addition to commissioners and Board of Education members, were representatives of the governments of Goldsboro, Mount Olive, Fremont, Seven Springs and Pikeville.

The participants in this effort have identified three issues that need attention in Wayne County: economic development, public education and quality of life. Under the guidance of the consultant, Dr. Phillip Boyle of the University of North Carolina School of Government, they are discussing these matters in groups, and the groups contain members of various governmental bodies.

Thus, when solutions are presented, they have a little bit of inter-board consensus to begin with.

What Boyle has found so far is not surprising. Everyone seems to agree on what the most important problems are; everyone feels that public support will be essential if any of the challenges are to be met, and most members of the boards feel that their responsibilities and their efforts are not understood by the others.

Next, Boyle will digest the information he has accumulated, confer with the town and county administrators and get back to each board with suggestions about the next step in the process.

This project will be like any other collaborative effort to reconcile and move forward: It will work if the participants really want it to, and otherwise it will fail.

Published in Editorials on February 13, 2004 11:41 AM