Picerno New Chair for County Board
PICERNO NEW CHAIR
Breaking with tradition, the Moore County Board of Commissioners has chosen newcomer Nick Picerno as chairman.
In a series of 3-2 votes, the board chose Picerno over Commissioner Tim Lea, the member with the most seniority, and over Commissioner Cindy Morgan during the Monday meeting.
The votes came after a brief ceremony in which Picerno was sworn in for his first four-year term and Lea was sworn in for his second term on the board.
Clerk to the Board Megan Owrey administered the oath of office to Lea and Picerno, then presided for election of a chairman. Picerno then assumed the chair and presided for the election of Commissioner Jimmy Melton as vice-chairman.
Morgan made the motion to elect Lea as chairman. She cited his seniority on the board and said the board needs the person who can do the best job. Morgan said that she had watched Lea's service in the two years she has served on the board and called him the best qualified.
"He's been a watchdog for taxpayers," Morgan said of Lea.
When no one made a second to her motion, Lea offered the motion "so we'll have it on the record." But the other three voted against the motion. When Lea made a motion nominating Morgan, the same vote followed with the motion failing 3-2.
Melton then nominated Picerno, Commissioner Larry Caddell made the second, and the vote was 3-2 but in reverse order.
No further comment was made until the end of the regular agenda, when Lea voiced disappointment that the board has not achieved a goal of working as five individual commissioners inside the meeting room, rather than outside the meeting venue.
"It's obvious we're back in the same mode," Lea said.
It was a reference to the vote a year ago when three members, including the former chairman, Colin McKenzie, rejected Morgan's nomination of Lea for the chairmanship. At the time, Morgan said that the commissioners had informally reached agreement the previous year to rotate the chairmanship to Lea, as the commissioner with seniority.
No such informal meeting was held this year, but Lea appeared to be hinting that three commissioners had worked together prior to the Monday meeting to determine who would be chairman.
Melton welcomed Picerno to the board as a new member and also welcomed Lea back for a second term.
Picerno thanked the board for their confidence in him and promised that he would work with everyone.
"I want to assure you and the public that all four other commissioners sitting here will have my ear," Picerno said.
In other business during the Monday meeting, the board voted unanimously to submit an application for a $600,000 community development block grant to benefit the Riverbend community, badly in need of a permanent solution to a road damage problem that has left the private development without access to public highways. The application for an Urgent Needs Grant now goes to the Division of Community Assistance in the N.C. Department of Commerce to draw down federal funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
For more on the story, see Wednesday's print edition of The Pilot.
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