08/03/04 — Duplin Economic Development Commission turned into advisory board

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Duplin Economic Development Commission turned into advisory board

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on August 3, 2004 1:58 PM

KENANSVILLE -- The Duplin County commissioners took four months to appoint eight members to the county's Economic Development Commission and then debated Monday whether the board should be called a commission or an advisory board.

The commissioners had tabled the appointments in April when the commission was turned into an "advisory board" and stripped of its duties of hiring and overseeing the staff.

Economic Development Director Woody Brinson stayed, but his assistant, Scottie Summerlin, resigned in June after the assistant director's position was eliminated from the 2004-2005 budget. County Manager Fred Eldridge had reassigned Summerlin as director of the WestPark Business Technology Center near Warsaw when he resigned.

The commissioners received an update Monday on the reorganization. Eldridge said he and Brinson had been meeting regularly and working on projects. He said the purpose for the reorganization of the EDC was to get the commissioners as involved as possible in economic development.

Commissioner Reginald Wells said he didn't want to hinder the EDC's mission. "They have inroads that we don't," he said.

Commissioner Zettie Williams didn't like the idea of changing the name to Economic Development Advisory Board and asked for an explanation.

"I see us taking away the independence of the group," she said. "What we're trying to do is expand their resources."

When Brinson tried to explain why it was important to call the economic development group a commission rather than an advisory board, Commissioner Arliss Albertson wanted to stop him from speaking.

"Let's hear from him," said Wells. "That's part of our mess now. ... Let's listen to him."

Brinson was allowed to proceed. He said "commission" was the common term that's used throughout the United States and the world. It's recognized on all of the Web sites, he said.

"I recommend you leave it an 'Economic Development Commission.' The members understand now that they're in more of an advisory capacity than they used to be."

Commissioner Larry Howard said he wants the group to be standard with all the others in the state. "I'd like to keep it consistent with the rest of the world," he said. "Being different makes you stand out."

The board voted to authorize Brinson and Eldridge to draw up a resolution naming the group the "Duplin County Economic Development Commission" and clarifying its duties.

Then the commissioners voted to reappoint the members whose terms had expired and to appoint some new members. The appointments were as follows:

*Pat Renfro of Accu-Form Polymers in Warsaw was reappointed.

*Michael Davis of Tri-County EMC in Mount Olive was appointed to replace Bill Hennessee.

*Jarvis Miller, who owns several businesses in Magnolia, was appointed to replace David Henderson, who died.

*Grey Morgan of Southern Bank in Kenansville was reappointed.

*Glenn Bradshaw of four-County EMC in Rose Hill was reappointed.

*Wilbur Hussey of Theresa's Fashions in Beulaville was reappointed.

*Charles Farrior Jr. of Farrior's Flooring and interiors in Wallace was appointed to finish the term of Harry Carlton, who died.

*Jim Harris of Cardinal Coach in Warsaw was appointed to finish the term of Gerald Quinn, who resigned for health reasons.

Commissioner Myrle Beringer suggested periodic updates from Brinson and Eldridge. "I've heard more in this update than I have since I came on the board," he said.

All the players have come together, said L.S. Guy, chairman of the Board of County Commissioners. "That was not happening in April. ... That's all we wanted."