10/07/04 — Duplin's EDC gets request

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Duplin's EDC gets request

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on October 7, 2004 1:59 PM

Duplin County's economic development office now has someone to answer the telephone.

The department's new administrative secretary, Cynthia Potter, started work Tuesday after the county commissioners voted 3-2 to hire her.

The office hadn't had a secretary since December, when County Manager Fred Eldridge moved EDC Director Woody Brinson's secretary to the newly formed Tourism Department.

The county commissioners agreed Monday to let him hire Ms. Potter at $35,000 a year.

Brinson said the hiring was needed for the office to keep up with its duties. He added that the office has been busy lately with prospective companies.

"I passed up two weeks' vacation because of the activity we've been having," he told commissioners.

Commissioner Arliss Albertson asked Brinson if the EDC had gone lacking. "As I see the economy and things as they are, we've got to keep doing things and not spend the money," he said. "It will take cuts, and it might involve people. We are not a rich county."

The county has already cut $108,000 from the economic development budget this year, said Brinson. The work is not getting done, he said.

"We have five bulk mailings that need to go out," he said. "I've got to have support, and I need it now, not Dec. 1."

Commissioner Reginald Wells said it's ridiculous to not hire a secretary for Brinson. He said he was at a candidate forum recently, and while he was there, people who want to be county commissioners expressed concern about economic development.

"He's not a secretary," said Wells about Brinson. "He needs an adequate staff. ... There are a whole lot of other places we can start cutting."

The vote was 3 to 2. Commissioner Myrle Beringer was absent. Albertson and Larry Howard voted to oppose the salary.

"Cynthia comes to us from an outstanding service record of nearly 29 years with Duplin County Cooperative Extension" Service, Brinson said. Ms. Potter was the administrative secretary for the Extension Service until her retirement in May. She has taught computer classes at James Sprunt Community College, earned her bachelor of science degree in business administration from Mount Olive College and is a licensed real estate broker.

"We are very fortunate that Cynthia was interested in 'not retiring' but starting a second career, and even more fortunate that she decided to start this second career with Duplin County EDC," said Brinson. "Her knowledge and experience in Duplin County will allow us to provide a higher level of service to our citizens and businesses. With agri-business being the number one employer in Duplin County, we are very fortunate to have a person of Cynthia's background becoming part of the Duplin County EDC team."

Brinson said 64 people applied for the job. "The quality of applicants re-enforced my belief that some of the best workers anywhere are available here in Duplin County."

Many of the applicants would have made an excellent employee, he said. But the interview team unanimously agreed that Ms. Potter brought the best qualifications to the job.

"With her background and experience we were able to hire someone that can make an immediate contribution to our efforts to serve the people of Duplin County as we work for a better quality of life and better jobs for our citizens," said Brinson.