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The Brunswick beacon. (Shallotte, N.C.) 19??-current, April 22, 1993, Image 1

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The Home Team... West Brunswick takes third place in the Seashell Tourney over spring break. Page 4-B A Joyful Noise! The N.C. Central University Touring Choir performs Friday evening at the county complex. Details, Page 3-B. Channel Surfers: Put down that clicker and turn to Pages 10-HCfor this week's TV listings. THE BD lltw*1"" ? ^ V VPO c.uNc- " - - xy 9 ED HMSP* / na^ h hb a ?yJ.PVb~ wi 5S-?a ? m JPKi ^ ??-? ?-v ? - . .....,,., : ? c.pRlN'^ ?-' '? I."11" II., ?...,?. Ill, n INI ? , ^ ,,, Thirty-First Year, Number 22 onallotte, North Caroline, Thursday, April 22, 1993 50? Per Copy 38 Pages, 3 Sections, 1 Insert r STAff rHOTO BY SUSAN IISHW FRED AND IlJi FLINCHUM of Asheboro planned to finish installing seats in the balcony of the Odell Williamson Auditorium Thursday night before calling it a day. Bonding Company To Finish Auditorium After BCC Board Declares Contractor In Default BY SUSAN USHER Work on the Odell Williamson Auditorium came to a halt Friday after Brunswick Community College trustees Thursday night declared the contractor in de fault because the project has not been completed on schedule. After a 35-minute meeting be hind closed doors with board at torney James R. Prevatte Jr., trustees voted unanimously for ITT Hartford, the insurance com pany holding the performance bond, to take over and hire some one else to finish the job that was begun approximately 18 months ago by Hatcher Construction Co. Inc. of Fayetteville. Under the contract awarded in August 1991, the 32,773-square foot building was to have been completed by Oct 24, 1992, at a cost of S3.4 million. The comple tion date was extended to Dec. 10 because of bad weather and other delays considered beyond the contractor's control, but an additional request for extension was rejected. Most recently, Hatcher wrote Boney & Associates requesting Final inspection of the project April 30, at which time a "punch list" would be prepared of cor rections needed before the building was accepted for occupancy. However, college officials were skeptical of that self-imposed deadline being meL "They wouldn't have met it," said DeBlois. "1 re gard that as a hope on their part It was not realistic. There's too much work to be done." DeBlois is uncertain how much, if any, additional delay will occur with the change in project manage ment "We don'i know if declaring default will result in a delay and we will never know, because we don't know when Hatcher would have finished," he said. During a tour of the auditorium Thursday afternoon mm We don't know if declaring default will result in a delay, and we will never knoWy because we don't know when Hatcher would have finished ?Ben DeBlois BCC Vice President mmm with Manager Michael Sapp, sheet rock, bricklaying, painting, flooring, chair and ceiling instal lation crews were on the job. Paving and landscaping work are among the other remaining tasks. Hatcher, who attended the trustees' April 15 meeting, said the April 30 deadline was the date contractors have been working to ward. "We are the people who can give you the building the quickest and are committed to doing that," he said prior to Building and Grounds Chairman A1 Woolen's motion to find the company in de fault Trustees made their decision after consulting with their atlc ney and architects Charles Boney and Ken Phelps of Boney & Associates, and with the concurrence of the N.C. Office of State Construction. At their February meeting, trustees put the general contractor on notice that if 16 work items were not completed within 15 days he could be declared in de fault Not all of the work was done, but BCC did not move forward on the issue of default. "He did put a lot of people on the job and we were optimistic," DeBlois said. "But since then they have backed off and gone back to their old habits." Other Business In other business trustees: ?Voted to accept gifts of less than $5,000 toward (See AUDITORIUM, Page 2-A) Auditorium Needs Push BCC Budget Request Over $ 7 Million BY SUSAN USHER Brunswick County Commission ers will be asked to up county finan cial support for Brunswick Com munity College by 61.5 percent next year, with most of the new money going to equip and operate the new Odell Williamson Auditorium. While not entirely comfortable with the increase, trustees voted last Inside... Business News -9C Calendar of Events ...JB Church News...? Classified 1-8C Court Docket 12C Crime Report ? i ->????????? ? 13A Fishing ..??J2R QOlf 9B Obituaries Opinion .4-5A People In The News ?9A Plant Doctor ..4B Sports Television 10-11C Thursday to ask the county for just over SI million, an increase of $391,134 over 1992-93, when BCC received $636,243. Budget requests for the auditori um total $353,950. Out of that. Auditorium Manager Michael Sapp has budgeted $203,950 for day-to day operation of the auditorium and $150,000 for equipment and furnish ings. The operating funds are the equivalent of $560 a day, including salaries and programming costs. Salaries include an administrative assistant, part-time technical coordi nator, and on-call house electrician and sound technician and miscella neous personnel such as box office, concessions, security and stage hands. A smorgasbord of thousands of items are on Sapp's shopping list, from lights that go along the edge of the auditorium stage to office furni ture, 100 musicians' chairs for the orchestra pit, theatrical lights, an iron and ironing board, and velour ropes and brass poles for the lobby. The auditorium's office, confer ence room, lobby, concession stand and dressing rooms must be fur nished and equipped along with se curing theatrical lighting, stage, au dio, audiovisual, maintenance and custodial equipment. "We'll never be able to rent this place and break even at this cost. "We're just kidding ourselves," Chairman David Kelly told board members. "Do you know how much that is a day?" "I can't see how we need all this when it has not opened and is not even finished," especially when it doesn't even generate FTE (the membership base that determines most community college funding by the state). Ben DeBlois, vice president for administrative services, said the pro posed budget is based on the audito rium opening by July 1, the start of the fiscal year, which isn't certain. Also, he said the facility is not ex pected to break even during its first year of operation and probably not the second. "The first year is going to be tough," he said. "Money will be needed to draw in events." President Michael Reaves said he also was "shocked" when he first (See BCC, Page 2-A) Chairman Disputes Ciaim That Districts Exclude Blacks BY ERIC CARLSON Unless the county attorney advis es otherwise, Board of Commis sioners Chairman Don Warren said Tuesday he is unlikely to support changing voting districts to head off a threatened lawsuit accusing the county of violating minority voting rights. James Wall, a lawyer with Legal Services of the Lower Cape Fear, told commissioners Monday night that his group would file suit in U.S. District Court unless the county moves to create a new voting district with "better than 60 percent black voting-age population." He gave the commissioners 90 days to respond to his threat and noted that similar lawsuits have forced Columbus and Bladen coun ties to change their election systems. Wall said he was acting on behalf of an unnamed "group of black vot ers" who feel that Brunswick County has not complied with the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965. He did not specifically accuse the county of racial discrimination, but said polling data indicates a pattern of polarized voting with blacks un able to elect representatives "despite voting cohesively as a group." He said that only two blacks have ever been elected to the county board of commissioners, and none have sat on the board since 1982. Hewett Hiring BY ERIC CARLSON Interim County Manager John Harvey may have violated the coun ty personnel policy and North Car olina law last week when he created a new position and hired a recently dismissed department head to fill the vacancy without advertising it. One month after firing Solid Waste Director Leo Hewett from his $28,534 job, Harvey told the county commissioners Monday that he had re-hired him as the county's second solid waste control officer with an annual salary of SI9,739. But only one such position was funded in the 1992-93 budget. Although a second solid waste con trol officer has reportedly been re quested for the 1993-94 fiscal year, the board of commissioners has not voted to approve that position. The Brunswick County Personnel Policy stales that "new positions shall be established only with ap proval of the board of commission AM " ers. Harvey also appears to have cir cumvented the personnel policy re quirement that the county manager "shall publicize these opportunities for employment, including salary SUff PHOTO BY DOUG RUTTIR Treasure From The Sea Doris Ahart will return to her home in Spencer, N.Y., with a nice souvenir from Holden Beach. She found this 15-inch horse conch Sunday morning bobbing in the ocean just east of the fishing pier. Shells that size are hard to find in one piece. Wall said the county has failed to create a voting district that would al low black voters a fair chance to elect black representatives in coun ty-wide elections. To support his claims. Wall sub mitted graphs and charts of census data comparing blacks and whites in terms of income level, education, home ownership and employment. He also included a map showing five proposed new voting districts in which one would have an estimated 64.1 percent black voters. That proposed district would take in a narrow slice of eastern Bruns wick County along the Cape Fear River from Pender County to South port. From there, the district would meander back and forth across U.S. 17 almost to the South Carolina line. Wall also suggested that the coun ty might need to change to single member voting districts in which residents elect representatives only from their home district This would increase the likelihood that a district with a large minority population could elect a minority representa tive. Under the current system, candi dates are chosen to represent each district, but they arc elected by vot ers county-wide. "What we would like to do at this time is to open discussions to see if Raises Legal Questions range and employment qualifica tions." According to county Personnel Officer Starie Grisseu, position va cancies are normally advertised in local newspapers for at least a week before the application period is closed. Normally, notices of job va cancies also are posted in the county administrative building. Grissett confirmed Tuesday that no advertisements were published to notify the public that there was a job opening for a second solid waste control officer. According to N.C. General Sta tute 153A-82, a county manager is responsible for hiring and firing county employees "with the ap proval of the board of commission . ** ers. The board may allow the county manager to hire without the board's approval. However, the law states that the manager shall hire and fire employees "in accordance with any general personnel rules, regulations, policies, or ordinances that the board may adopt." Brunswick County's personnel policy was adopted in 1980. Accor ding to Grissett, there have been no it is possible to reach a solution al lowing minorities to have a voice on this commission, which they don't have now," Wall said. "It would be a whole lot cheaper for everyone con cerned if we can do that. "We have no intention of bringing a lawsuit for three months at the ear liest," Wall said. "If we hear no an swer, we will commence action in U.S. District Court" The commissioners made no comment about Wall's presentation at the meeting. Warren said Tuesday that the board was "broadsided at the last minute" by Wall's request and did not have time to digest the informa tion before the meeting. Still, he dis puted Wall's claims that the current district lines put black voters at a disadvantage. "The county had a referendum to approve new districts in 1991," War ren said. "We just went through the first election since then and the only minority candidate who ran was el ected. That's a pretty good indica tion that there's nothing wrong with the districts we have." Warren said he would wait for County Attorney Michael Ramos to look over Wall's material and make recommendations before considering any action. But he said he was "not inclined to ask for changes" unless Ramos advises the board to do so. changcs in the rules requiring the advertisement of job openings or the creation of new positions since the policy was enacted. David Lawrence, a local govern ment expert with the N.C. Institute of Government, said Tuesday that under state law, "the power to create positions ultimately rests with the board of commissioners" unless that power is formally delegated by a vote of the board. While "there is no legal require ment to advertise a position," Law rence said a county manager would be legally bound to do so if a per sonnel policy enacted by the board makes that requirement Lawrence also noted that a county manager is not allowed to spend money on a new position if that money has not been appropriated for that purpose. The Brunswick County Commissioners have not voted to appropriate money for the hiring of a second solid waste control officer. In announcing Hewett's re-hiring Monday night, Harvey said the for mer solid waste director was "a very valuable employee for 15 years" who had exhibited "a lot of skills in (See IIEWETT, Page 2-A) Roney Cheers Is Democrats' New Chairman BY SUSAN USHER Roney Cheers of Shallotte was elected chairman of the Brunswick County Democratic Party Saturday at a four-hour convention that fea tured contested elections of three of six offices and adoption of 13 reso lutions, including several that call for Brunswick County to give coun ty residents special consideration in hiring and one urging removal of disloyal party officers. Other measures addressed eco nomic concerns and health care. In his keynote address, state Rep. E. David "Butch" Rcdwine (D Brunswick) told delegates this has been "the most exciting year to be in public office" that he has experi enced and "a great year to be a Democrat." This session he said Democrats expect to deliver on ex panding state services to children and to increase support for educa tion, including a bond referendum package. Cheers, who was elected on a sec ond ballot, was one of two an nounced candidates for the chair man's post, the other being Vernon (See DEMOCRATS, Page 2-A)

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