Goal session cancelled, new sessions discussed

Feb. 23, 2014 @ 08:27 AM

Rutherford County Commissioners were determined to discuss the future of the county.

Unfortunately, illness got in the way.

Lydian Altman, director of Strategic Public Leadership with the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill's School of Government had the flu Friday and was unable to facilitate a special meeting of the Commission aimed at discussing the goals of commissioners.

But that didn't stop commissioners from taking things a step further.

Commissioner Greg Lovelace suggested commissioners get together — in an open meeting — the Thursday prior to their monthly meeting, typically held on the first Monday of each month, to discuss goals and the upcoming agenda.

"It would be an opportunity for the public to hear what we have to talk about and it would give us a way to talk about our goals and what we have to look forward," Lovelace said.

He said the meeting scheduled needed a facilitator, but there are things commissioners need to discuss regularly, especially the budget.

"It's been awhile since we have really sat down and looked at some of the things," said Bill Eckler, commission chairman. "This would be a good way to have a conversation about where we are and what we are doing."

Rutherford County Manager Carl Classen said holding a special meeting on the Thursday before the monthly meeting would not be an issue.

"We prepare the agenda by midday Wednesday and they will be ready to be handed out," Classen said. "I will just walk through the agenda and, if there are specific issues, we can have department heads available."

He said the meetings would be advertised as special meetings of the commission, no different than any other special meeting.

Commissioner Bo Richard suggested it not be prudent for commissioners to vote on the measure Friday because the meeting was originally set as a goal-setting session.

State statute allows for the Chairman of the Commission to call a special meeting without a vote of the board.

"I think it might be best to do that because there may be circumstances when we have to move the meeting to another time," said Commissioner Julius Owens. "I would be fine to have the Chairman call a special meeting."

Classen said there is a degree of importance for commissioners to have an opportunity to discuss future priorities.

"My biggest concern is that the staff knows what they want to get done this year and next year," Classen said.

Upon the completion of the goal-setting meeting, Eckler called the first special meeting for 5 p.m. Thursday at the Rutherford County Annex.