County names eight to new EDC board

Jan. 28, 2013 @ 02:42 PM

The Union County Board of Commissioners named eight representatives to the governing board of the new Monroe-Union County economic development group.

Though all county municipalities were asked to appoint a representative on the board in exchange for a $7,500 fee, only Fairview chose to take the opportunity, County Manager Cindy Coto said. The town nominated Tony Helms as its representative.

Commission-chosen nominees were appointed to the remaining at-large county positions. The board appointed Bonnie Griffin, Gary Summerfield and Scott Byrum to 3-year terms; Michael Lutes, Ray Black and Tony Helms to 2-year terms and John Hendley and Sam Starnes to 1-year terms.

The first meeting of the economic commission's advisory board is scheduled for Feb. 12, Coto said.

There were two items of note from the commission's consent agenda and therefore without discussion in open session. First was the abolishment of the 2009 board governance vision and policies document. Since its passage, the commission has twice adopted rules that conflict with the document.  Commissioners adopted a new way to evaluate the county manager's performance. It established a plan of work and areas of focus.

In March 2011, the board approved eliminating the requirement for planning and adjustment board members to submit conflict of interest forms with their applications. It also tossed the rule that disallowed people to serve on more than one board.

"As the Governance Vision and Policies for Union County as adopted on March 16, 2009 are in conflict with the above stated Board actions it is recommended that Governance Vision and Policies be abolished," the agenda item states.

Besides manager evaluation, the Governance document outlined the duties of committees, named the power and limitations of individual commissioners over county staff and county policy, directed commissioners to abstain from official county matters that affect their personal finances and other matters of ethical conduct.

The second item authorized Coto to contract with Fitch & Associates to study the county's emergency medical service for no more than $75,000. Union County has contracted with Carolinas Healthcare Systems to operate ambulance service since 1997. The current contract expires in June.

Due to a growing population and poor economy, emergency medical service has changed. Since the contract will be renegotiated this year, the county wanted outside help determining the level of ambulance service the county needs, according to the county agenda materials.

Experts with Fitch & Associates will look at statistics, interview county and CHS officials and review the current contract. The initial phase will cost an estimated $15,000. Consultants will present their findings to the county staff, who can then decide what criteria to examine next. When consultants consider all areas the county staff tell them to, they will present their findings to the commission.

The commission holds a special called meeting to discuss the emergency medical contract at 8:30 a.m. Jan. 29.


EDITOR'S NOTE: An earlier version of this story incorrectly named appointees to the new EDC board.