12/04/07 — Duplin elects new chairman

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Duplin elects new chairman

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on December 4, 2007 1:52 PM

Duplin County's Board of Commissioners might be heading in a slightly different direction in 2008 after the election of Harold Raynor as the new chairman Monday morning.

Following a more-or-less regular rotation of districts, the commissioners selected Raynor to fill the position held this year by David Fussell, who was credited by other members for bringing a new energy and a number of new ideas to the table this year.

Raynor, who was elected to the board in 2006, will serve as chairman until December 2008.

He said he will likely lead the board a little differently than his predecessor, but he doesn't plan on any radical changes.

"In my year on this board, it's been a privilege to get to know these five people. And now I've got a feeling for how they think and feel," Raynor said.

His No. 1 goal for the board, he continued, will be to find as much common ground as possible.

"We don't totally agree, but we will work through this," he said. "Let's strive to have unity on the board."

One significant change that he will be making will be the involvement of County Manager Mike Aldridge.

Under Fussell, Aldridge was there primarily to assist the board in its decision-making process.

Raynor, however, wants him to more actively lead the commission through the agenda during its meetings and to be more vocal in his recommendations.

"I'm going to do this a little differently," he said. "I'm going to totally let Mike run the meetings until I can get my feet wet and confident I can take over."

He added that he hopes that by the beginning of the new year he'll be able to take a more vocal role as chairman.

When he does, he continued, his other goal is to reach out more to the county's municipalities.

"I want to get the towns on board with the things we want to do," Raynor said.

And, though his ideas may be slightly different than his own, Fussell believes the commission made a good choice when it unanimously selected Raynor to replace him.

"It's been a real pleasure (serving as chairman)," Fussell said. "There have been a lot of things I've been voted down on, but I think we're going in the right direction and that we've got a great future."

L.S. Guy was re-elected vice chairman.