02/07/12 — Former ESC chief to run for commissioner

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Former ESC chief to run for commissioner

By Steve Herring
Published in News on February 7, 2012 1:46 PM

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Bill Pate

Bill Pate of Goldsboro has announced that he will file as a Republican candidate for the District 5 seat on the Wayne County Commission now held by Democrat Bud Gray.

Pate, 55, is retired manager of the Wayne County Employment Security Commission/Joblink Career Center.

Filing opens at noon on Feb. 13 and will end at noon on Feb. 29. All seven seats on the commission are up for election. The primary election will be held May 8. A second primary, if needed, will be held June 26. The general election will be held Nov. 6.

Pate said that he has always had an interest in politics and that people who knew he was getting ready to retire asked if he would consider running for office.

"Probably name recognition-wise more people will know me because of my dad (the late Dr. W.H. Pate) than they will me," Pate said. "My dad delivered like 4,000 kids in his career in northern Wayne County. He was the only doctor up there.

"The reason why I want to do this is basically desire -- I have served the citizens of North Carolina for 32 years in several different capacities as a state employee. From 1997 until I retired this past June, the citizens of Wayne County. I know how the system works and the pieces fit together."

A graduate of Charles B. Aycock High School, Pate received his bachelor's degree in business management from East Carolina University. Along with the Goldsboro Employment Security Commission office, Pate has managed the Morehead City branch and was assistant manager in the Greenville office.

Pate said that the many people he has worked with over the years could attest that if he says he is going to do something that he does.

"Sometimes I am not so sure that we (county) are following what we call responsible spending," Pate said. "I believe that government has a role obviously. But the role of government should be to build the infrastructure, educate our kids, and then get out of the way of private business and let them do the investment to create the jobs. You don't create the jobs by tax dollars. I don't believe that.

"I think we need to get hold of that (spending) and make sure we are spending the dollars responsibly. We have to continue to invest in the future, but anything that we don't need to spend money on right now needs to be put on the back burner until the economy turns around and people get back to work."

Pate said he thinks the county school system is doing a good job educating county children. The WORK Keys program, of which Pate is a founding member and still active in, is also important, he said. Pate commended commissioners for their support of the WORKS program.

The first thing an industry asks when looking at a county is does it have a competent workforce, Pate said.

"That is what I call responsible spending, " he said. "You have got to spend those types of dollars for the future."

What isn't responsible spending are items like the countywide survey commissioners are considering, Pate said.

"If you are a county commissioner you should have a pretty good idea of what people are thinking," he said. "If not you need to have a town hall meeting and let them tell you rather than spending money on that.

"Their meetings ought to be at night so that people can go. The only reason I have been able to go now is because I am retired. I don't think the voting population really has any idea of what is going on."

Pate said he had been surprised by the salaries paid to county employees.

"I thought they were a little bit on the high side compared to what I thought it would have been," he said. "I know that the people I talked to in private business who looked at that were shocked, especially the ones who are about to lose their businesses.

Pate said he is concerned about the county's solid waste convenience fees and its impact on mobile home park owners who have to pay the amount for every lot they have. He also voiced concern that decisions appear to have been made prior to board meetings.