Commissioners table latest information request

Dec. 09, 2012 @ 08:13 AM

RUTHERFORDTON — A Rutherford County Commissioner has made his third different request for information from the county.

This time, however, commissioners decided to table the measure until costs of completing the request could be assessed.

Commissioner Bo Richard has requested any and all communication from county employees regarding Foothills Connect.

Foothills Connect, a non-profit organization, suspended operations in October due to an increase in administrative costs. They has worked on an online farmers market, sustainable agriculture projects and Internet connectivity across Rutherford County.

"I'm just trying to get a background as to what is happening there because I was shocked to find out about it in the paper that Dana Whitehair was no longer with the board," Richard said.

Whitehair resigned as Executive Director of Foothills Connect in October, around the same time the organization announced it was suspending operations.

Commission Chairman Julius Owens said that he did not believe the county was the first stop to find the communications Richard was seeking.

"I think the place to start to gather this information would be from Foothills Connect," Owens said. "I don't want to have undo cost on the taxpayers of Rutherford County for a request that could be made to that board."

The county only worked on one project with Foothills Connect. The organization was planning to build a hoop house at the county's landfill.

Rutherford County Manager Carl Classen said that the county was not working in conjunction with Foothills Connect on any other project.

However, another connection between Foothills Connect and the county is the fact that Commissioner Bill Eckler does serve on the Foothills Connect board, however his capacity is not as a Commissioner.

"He's inquiring as to our relationship with Foothills Connect and wondering if we have any outstanding liability," Classen said. "We can answer that question or the request that was made."

Commissioner Greg Lovelace asked about the estimated cost to the county for fulfilling the request and Classen said that he did not have the figures but, could provide them for January's meeting.

Lovelace responded by asking to table the request, which was approved 4-1, with Richard casting the lone dissenting vote.

"When I have to find out about something like this through the paper and not from emails, there is cause for concern," Richard said.