Supervisors make appointments for Multi-Use Facility

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Five men were named Monday to form the basis of an independentcouncil to operate the Lincoln County Multi-Use Facility.

Appointees to the Lincoln County Parks and Recreation Commissionwere McNair Smith, District One; Brett Smith, District Two; Pat A.McCullough, District Three; Dr. William Kimble, District Four; andWayne Smith, District Five.

The appointees will serve temporarily with the expectation ofthe appointments becoming permanent once supervisors officiallyestablish the commission.

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While acknowledging the commission will need its independence tolimit political influence and involvement, supervisors areadmittedly concerned about giving the commission too much freerein. However, they also do not want any responsibility for theday-to-day operations of the facility.

Therefore, supervisors want to create the commission’s bylawsbefore making any permanent appointments and recognizing it as anofficial independent entity.

The appointees will serve as an advisory council in the creationof those bylaws. They will help determine the operationalboundaries of the commission and the amount of control supervisorswill maintain over the facility.

County Attorney Bob Allen said the statute that allows the boardto create an independent recreation commission states its memberswill serve a four-year term to coincide with the terms ofsupervisors.

Supervisors called the terms “troubling” because it left openthe possibility for complete replacement of the commission’smembers after each election should new supervisors wish to appointsomeone they prefer.

“We need to keep politics out of it,” said District ThreeSupervisor Nolan Earl Williamson.

Allen said he was consulting with the state Attorney General’soffice to find a way to create staggered terms for the commission’smembers.

District Four Supervisor Doug Moak suggested the board alsoappoint a permanent secretary to the commission to provide somecontinuity. The board readily agreed and approved the appointmentof County Administrator David Fields.

Supervisors chose Fields because county funding for the facilitywill continue to flow through his office. His job will be toaccount for spending, take meeting notes and serve as a historianfor the commission to remind future members why and when certaindecisions were made.

The board is presently reviewing the bylaws of 10 to 12 similarcommissions formed in other counties. The review is hoped tohighlight strategies that could be used at the Lincoln Countyfacility to create a self-sustaining operation.

Since its creation nine years ago, the Multi-Use Facility hasbeen funded by county and city funds and managed by the BrookhavenParks Commission. In that time, it never made enough money to coverits operational expenses and the city and county had to pay for itslosses.

The city recreation board decided last month not to continue tomanage the facility and declared they were withdrawing on May 14.When city aldermen and county supervisors met to discuss its futuremanagement, the boards decided it would be best served under oneentity, citing past conflicts between the two boards. Supervisorsagreed to pay the city for its initial investment in the facilityto retain sole ownership and the city also withdrew May 14.

Supervisors will meet with the appointees for an informal worksession to explain the county’s actions to date and their views ofthe commission’s duties and responsibilities in the next few weeks.There will be no official action taken during the work session.