Eye on Dare

"Blogging the Bog of Outer Banks Politics"

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Government Transparency - Kudos Nags Head

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You can find Nags Head's Town Checkbook here.


Dare County  "WHERE IS YOUR CHECKBOOK?

Nags Head is willing to share. Why isn't Dare County?

Budget Sinkhole Continues to Grow

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Dare County government should "wake up" and start taking financial notes from Wake County (NC). After all, Dare likes to compare itself with Wake when it comes to education and employee pay expenditures. Reading the following news article won't get Dare out of its ever expanding budget sinkhole, but it will let the taxpayers know that hard times aren't about to end any time soon.

Like Wake, Dare County funds a very large portion of its 700+ teacher workforce, lock-stock-and barrel.  When preparing this year's budget the commissioners allocated (so to speak) enough money to pick up an anticipated 3% pay raise for its share of local teachers' raises.  The money, unfortunately, is to come from the county employees' insurance fund, which is already about $4 million in the hole. And, if this isn't a perfect example of robbing Peter to pay Paul, what is?

The hard part here is, the commissioners, who have never had the capacity or desire to see very far into the future can't get out of that mess so easily.  And, that's because the state legislature will, no doubt, end up with teacher pay raises ranging somewhere between 5% and 11%, across the board.

So, who's going to pay for all this?  Ask Wake County.  The battle lines over there are starting to draw.

"Wake County school leaders are glad that state leaders want to raise teacher salaries, but say the extra pay would also create some local costs and lead to a budget shortfall.
The funding gap could force the school district to put off some new programs and even lay off employees, school officials and school board members said." http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/06/17/3944144/wake-county-school-board-facing.html#emlnl=Local_and_State

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/06/17/3944144/wake-county-school-board-facing.html#emlnl=Local_and_State#storylink=cpy

Monday, June 9, 2014

Tradewinds Magazine: Community And EMS Pleas Fall On Deaf Ears?

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 Apparent emergency medical service problems in neighboring Currituck County has caught the eye of EyeonDare, if for no other reason, our own Dare County EMS service seems to have been in a state of disarray for the past year or so.  We often hear, in Dare County, that we are losing EMS personnel to Currituck County because "they pay better" over there. Perhaps there is more here than meets the eye.  For example, one observer recently told EyeonDare that Currituck salaries also required fire and ems duties, whereas, in Dare County ems personnel are not required to do fire duty.
Any other opinions are welcomed.


Tradewinds Magazine: Community And EMS Pleas Fall On Deaf Ears?: By: Terry Weathers Another week as come and gone. Sadly, it appears little has changed. I have witnessed the Commissioners sit in “our” sea...

Related:  http://albemarletradewinds.blogspot.com/2014/06/a-cry-for-help-currituck-county-ems.html

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Dare Commissioners Violate County Personnel Manual

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Dare County Manager Bobby Outten (center) is seen here introducing
Drew Pearson (left) who will assume the position of Emergency Management
Coordinator to replace Sandy Sanderson (right) who will be retiring in
July 2015. (Dare County photo)
The Dare County Commissioners have violated their own personnel policy manual and are continuing their practice of "no holds barred" in the hiring and paying of top administrators in local government. During Tuesday's board meeting, county manager, Bobby Outten introduced Dare's new Emergency Management Coordinator who will be coming on board in early August at a salary of $90,000 per year, along with a new county owned 4x4 Tahoe at a cost of $40,000. The county received 65 applications for the position.  Appropriations for funding were included in the coming year's $100 million budget which was passed later in the meeting.

Dare County's current emergency management coordinator sits on the salary scale at $99,249  and is the highest paid county person in the state at that position. He will retire, effective July 30, 2015. However Outten told EyeonDare it was the commissioners' wish to have the new coordinator on board a full year ahead of time so he will be able to meet all local law enforcement, emergency personnel, etc. and get oriented before he takes the one-man department over by himself for a full hurricane season in 2015.

The current salary range, set by Dare County government for the above position is grade 80, with a beginning and ending salary of $62,030 and $99,249 respectively. The personnel manual does give the county manager the discretion of hiring at above the beginning salary range, but with important exceptions. Section 4, paragraph (b) of the manual states:

"If because of a shortage of qualified applicants, the established hiring rate/entry level salaries are insufficient for attracting qualified personnel and/or the candidate's training or experience exceeds the minimum requirements of a position, the candidate may be appointed at a salary not to exceed the midpoint of the assigned range, subject to the availability of funds and with the approval of the Human Resources Director and the County Manager."

When asked directly about the policy violation, county commissioners, Warren Judge, Jack Shea and manager Outten all gave EyeonDare the same response. Each stated they were aware of the county guidelines, but felt the hiring salary rate was justified.

Meanwhile, the position(s) of Dare's emergency management coordinator, which some have compared to the Maytag Repair Man's job will be under two sets of watchful eyes to the tune of $200,000+ benefits, at least for the next twelve months.

Related Blog post (click here)  .County Wages & Benefits Not Managed Properly...(excerpts)..Salary study (September 2005) it was recommended (by county manager) that Emergency Manager Coordinator move from a grade 73 to grade 75 with a monetary increase of moving from $59,637 to $71,152.  January 3, 2006 the position of Emergency Manager Coordinator went from a grade 75 (salary $71,152) to a grade 80 (salary $90,000).  The action form states “grade and salary adjustment based on the importance of the position”. 

Dare County's Newest Emergency Management Coordinator

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Retiring county emergency management coordinator, Sandy Sanderson (right)
is seen here meeting with his replacement, Drew Pearson, who will begin
work in early August 2014.  Sanderson will retire in July 2015.
(Dare County photo)
 


For Immediate Release:
June 3, 2014
Contact:
Dorothy Killingsworth
Public Relations Office
(252) 475-5900
darecountypr@darenc.com

Dare County Announces New Emergency Management Coordinator

Drew Pearson, Dare County’s new Emergency Management Coordinator, was formally introduced to the Board of Commissioners at their meeting on Monday, June 2 by County Manager Bobby Outten. Pearson will officially become the Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator on August 4, after retiring from the Coast Guard in mid-July.

Pearson comes to Dare County with 30 years of experience with the U.S. Coast Guard, most recently as Sector Commander in San Juan, Puerto Rico where he leads all Coast Guard missions in the Eastern Caribbean. Previously, Pearson was stationed in Elizabeth City for over 10 years and had an opportunity to be involved in operations throughout eastern North Carolina, including the Outer Banks.

Pearson has extensive training and experience in all aspects of emergency operations, including being a Certified Emergency Manager through the International Association of Emergency Managers. He received a Master’s Certificate in Community Preparedness and Disaster Management from UNC Chapel Hill and Master’s Degrees in Public Administration and Emergency Management from the American Military University.

In addition, Pearson has completed a wide range of military and civilian training courses including the National Response Framework, the National Incident Management System, the Incident Command System and many Coast Guard leadership courses. He is rated an Airline Transport Pilot by the FAA, is a designated Coast Guard Aviator and C-130 Flight Examiner, and is trained in Aircraft Accident Investigation, Command Security and Command Intelligence.

Dare County Emergency Management serves as the primary coordinating organization for Dare County in the event of a natural disaster or emergency incident. The Department researches emergency related needs for all areas of the County and develops and coordinates emergency response plans. Emergency

Management consults with officials of local and area governments, schools, the hospital, and national organizations to determine local needs and capabilities in an effort to facilitate disaster response and crisis management.

Pearson will replace N.H. "Sandy" Sanderson who will retire on June 30, 2015. Sanderson has served as Dare County’s Emergency Management Coordinator for the past 20 years, leading the agency to become one of the most professional emergency response organizations in the state.

"Pearson has the education and experience that we were looking for in a new Emergency Manager. He has been through many hurricanes in Puerto Rico as the Commander in Charge for Hurricane Emily, Irene, Marie, Isaac, and Sandy.

He will bring to Dare County a wealth of knowledge," remarked Outten at the presentation.

 
 
 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Time to Count Grains of Sand

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Nags Head beach today at 10:00 a.m., just north of Jennettes Pier
 

Word is that the town's beach nourishment engineer, Coastal Science & Engineering, is in town today to conduct the required semi-annual measurement of the project to see how much sand has been lost from the project area.  Of course, the engineer gets to count the sand laying out in the ocean, so it's a no-win situation for opponents of the project who said the sand would wash off the beach.  Does anyone remember how wide this stretch of beach was immediately after the project?

Be There Today -1:00 p.m.

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The Outer Banks Voice - County, school leaders to hash out budget stalemate today
Anytime the Dare commissioners have a "public meeting" they really don't want the public to attend, they will schedule it in the small conference Room 238 on the 2nd floor of the Administration Building, opting not to use the multi-million dollar Commissioner's  Castle Annex on the first floor. The meeting starts at 1:00 p.m. today.  Be there.