Board Splits On Selecting Panel Head
But whether he will serve remains a question.
His choice came as a surprise Monday when three members of the Moore County Board of Commissioners rejected the recommendation of the Planning Board to tap one of its own members as chairman.
Commissioner Tim Lea said Tuesday that Auman has told him he cannot accept the chairmanship although he is willing to serve as a committee member.
"I called Watts yesterday to congratulate him and also to explain why I voted for the people recommended by the Planning Board, and Watts told me he didn't have time to serve as chairman," Lea said.
Lea said Auman told him that because of his workload, he does not have the time to handle the additional duties involved as committee chairman. Auman had previously agreed to serve on the committee and told Lea that he is "very much interested in serving on the committee."
Auman also told Lea that no one had asked him in advance if he was willing to chair the committee and that the decision to appoint him as chairman came as a surprise. Lea quoted Auman as saying that he would support Dave Kinney, the Planning Board choice, for the chairmanship.
In a brief telephone interview late Monday, Auman said he had no public comment to make about the appointment, which had not been expected.
Lea said he has made an official request for the issue to be returned to the agenda for the board's Aug. 21 meeting because of Auman's response and also because of questions raised about the commissioners' subsequent vote for vice chairman, an act that could be interpreted as the election of two chairmen or two vice chairmen.
During the Monday meeting, Lea made a motion that the board accept the recommendation of the Planning Board to name Kinney as Area A steering committee chairman and Paul Hodges as vice chairman. Both are members of the Planning Board. Kinney chaired the ad hoc committee that developed boundaries for the Area A plan.
Commissioner Virginia W. Saunders countered with a substitute motion to name Auman as chairman. Commissioner Michael R. Holden made the second.
Lea argued that the steering committee needs a chairman who understands the planning process and can be in communication with the Planning Board. Lea, a former chairman of the Planning Board, expressed admiration for Auman but cited Auman's lack of experience with the planning process as his only reservation about his qualifications to head the panel.
Board Chairman David J. Cummings said he had no problems with the Planning Board recommendations but reported that he had received numerous calls from Area A residents expressing concern that if the committee is led by Planning Board members, the Area A plan "will be a cut-and-dried thing" with little input from other members.
When it came time to vote, the commissioners split 3-2 in favor of Auman with Lea and Commissioner Colin McKenzie casting the dissenting votes.
With that vote, the original motion by Lea died, the board was advised by County Attorney Lesley Moxley.
"I'll withdraw my motion and let the other three commissioners make the decision," Lea said.
Holden then made a motion to follow the Planning Board recommendation to name Hodges as vice chairman, Saunders made the second. This time the vote was unanimous.
The commissioners had no problems with the committee membership roster recommended by the Planning Board.
"The Planning Board has done an excellent job, and I recommend that we accept this slate," Lea said in making his motion.
This time the vote was unanimous.
In addition to Auman, Hodges and Kinney, the steering committee members are Judy Boroughs, Nancy Roy Fiorillo, Cindy Holland, Johnny Ingram, Ray MacKay, John Monroe, Leonard Tufts, Donald Welch, David Wilson, Elaine Girgis and Jesse Wimberley.
They include farmers, a truck driver, a former planning director, a retired clergyman, an accountant, a historian, a landowners association president, a retired surgeon and several other retirees. Most are property owners in Area A, which includes Seven Lakes, West End, Jackson Springs and Eagle Springs and environs.
Tufts is a former chairman of the Planning Board. Fiorillo is a former county planning director.
At the recommendation of the Planning Board, the commissioners agreed in July to change the Area A boundaries, to delete properties north of N.C. 211 and west of N.C. 705 and an unincorporated community south of Foxfire. An east and north of N.C. 211 in the area of Beulah Hill Church Road, N.C. 73 and Murdocksville Road was added.
County Planning Director Andrea Surratt advanced the small area planning concept, which is patterned after the countywide land-use plan. Area A is the first of several smaller communities that will be studied in depth to determine the interests, concerns and wishes of property owners.
Area B will cover unincorporated areas surrounding Vass, Cameron and Lobelia Road.
Florence Gilkeson can be reached at 947-4962 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
More like this story