Thompson files EDC report

Published 8:08 pm Saturday, June 9, 2012

Facing a suspension of an estimated $6,226 in salary and travel allowances, Tom Thompson last week filed a long-awaited report of economic development activities for the past year.

The five-page report was filed with the county manager’s office Friday and is accompanied by a year-to-date financial report.

It was also emailed to members of the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners and members of the Economic Development Commission’s governing board.

And at least one county commissioner believes that the report, while lacking in some required details, is sufficient to restore Thompson’s pay.

“It’s acceptable,” said Commissioner Al Klemm in an interview Saturday. “It meets the criteria of the by-laws. You could argue about it with this little point and that little point, but let’s be sane about it.”

Other commissioners who were contacted Saturday said they had not seen the report.

Commissioner Ed Booth said he had not received the report but if it contains the information the by-laws require, he would be willing to restore Thompson’s salary; if not, Booth said, “the vote stands.”

Commissioner Jerry Langley also said he had not seen the report.

Efforts to reach other members of the county board for comment were not successful Saturday afternoon.

Booth, Klemm and Langley were joined by Commissioners Stan Deatherage and Hood Richardson in voting at a meeting of the county board last Monday to suspend Thompson’s salary until the report was filed. Commissioners Robert Cayton and Jay McRoy voted against the suspension.

The report outlines efforts by the Beaufort County Economic Development Commission during the past year to secure state grants to help three local industries — Weir Valves, P&G Manufacturing and Spinrite — expand their operations or retain existing jobs.

It also discusses efforts to recruit a wood pellet plant, a wood torrification plant and a plasma generation company to the county as well as non-manufacturing economic development activity in Aurora, Belhaven, Bath and Pantego.

It includes an estimate of expenditures of staff time and addresses future economic development plans.

“The current plans for the future are to continue to market the product of Beaufort County, which includes the Quick Start II facility, the Chocowinity and Beaufort County Industrial parks, the Bath Incubator, the Skills Center and the various community initiatives discussed earlier,” the report says.

The financial report indicates that of an original appropriation of $309,440 and a revised budget of $331,995, the EDC had spent $282,974.72 as of May 17, including $128,625 on salaries, $10,836 on consultant services and $10,000 on travel, among other expenses.

The suspension of Thompson’s pay was scheduled to begin following the end of Thompson’s service as a juror in Craven County, according to the vote by the commissioners.

Thompson’s salary as EDC director is $115,800 per year. He is also allocated an additional $12,000 per year in a travel allowance, according to Jim Chrisman, county finance officer.

Based on the commissioner’s actions, he would have suffered a salary loss from June 4 through June 30 which included an estimated $5,272 in salary and $954 in travel expenses if his salary were prorated from the date of the commissioners meeting, Chrisman said.

The salary suspension was expected to be lifted if Thompson had submitted the report.

In March, Thompson met with the commissioners and presented an overview of economic development activities in the county for the past 10 years. But members of the board said the presentation fell short of the annual report that Thompson was required to present to the board as required by the Economic Development Commission’s by-laws.

To view both reports, click here.