Hyde board criticized for manager’s contract

Published 5:50 am Wednesday, October 22, 2008

By Staff
Incoming board members not happy with deal
Daily News Correspondent
SWAN QUARTER — Sharon P. Spencer let the Hyde County Board of Commissioners know of her discontent with the board’s decision to offer a two-year contract to County Manager Carl Classen.
On Dec. 7, Spencer will begin her term as representative of the Lake Landing Township on the Hyde County Board of Commissioners.
She spoke about the matter to the board during its regular meeting that was held Monday night at the Hyde County Government Center.
Mrs. Spencer’s remarks drew applause from the audience.
Newly elected commissioner Anson Byrd also expressed his concern about the appointment.
Also at the meeting, Iris Falkson asked about the legality of commissioner Tom Davis serving as the attorney for the Hyde County Department of Social Services. Davis told the board that he had thoroughly checked to make sure that it was legal for him to serve as the department’s attorney. According to Davis, there is no conflict of interest. He accepts no salary for the position.
In another matter, Hyde County Tax Superrvisor Linda Basnight and Hyde County Tax Appraiser Bob Pearson met with the board to discuss the revaluation of real property that is underway in the county. The new property values will be based on current sales studies. The board will hold a public hearing on the new values during its Nov. 3 meeting.
Also at the meeting, Lindsey Mooney, a representative of the local fire chief’s association, met with the board on behalf of the Fairfield, Engelhard and Swan Quarter volunteer fire departments. The volunteer fire departments are requesting that an independent dispatching department be set up in the county. The new department would be governed by a board consisting of two representatives from the sheriff’s office, two representatives from the fire departments and two representatives from the emergency medical service organizations. No action was taken on the request.
In another matter, Earl O’Neal of Ocracoke introduced the board to Elizabeth Watson, a representative of Watson Heritage Strategies in Chestertown, Md. The company is working with a local committee to create a scenic byway on the beaches of Carteret, Dare and Hyde counties. An update on the project was given to the board. Web sites will be used for promotion.
County manager Classen told the board that the collection of occupancy-tax funds were below last year’s collections. Also, he informed the board that the housing unit for the staff will be completed before the bays for the vehicles are completed in the new EMS station on the mainland. The station will be occupied as soon as possible, he said.