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Edward M. Sweat t and Carolyn H. Sweat t J\ibllshe rs
Lynn Sweatt Carlson Editor
Susan Usher Mews Editor
Doug Rutter Sports EdUor
Eric Carlson Staff Writer
Mary Potts ?t Peggy Earwood Office Managers
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unda Cheers and Anne 1 a turn Aniwriisiny Representuiivcs
Dorothy Brennan & Brenda Clemmons Moore Graphic Artists
William Manning Pressman
Lonnle Sprinkle Assistant Pressman
PAGE 4 -A, THURSDAY, DECEMBER 15, 1994
Avoiding Secret Sessions
Is An Essential Change
Jerry Jones and Clara Carter are capable, experienced choices
to lead the new Brunswick County Board of Commissioners and
Board of Education, respectively. As they begin those duties, we
hope they'll make every effort to serve the people they represent
by doing every bit of business that's possible in the public eye.
The N.C. Open Meetings Law is newly strengthened this
year but continues to permit the crutch elected officials most love
to lean on ? the right to go into an executive, or secret, session to
consult with attorneys. Eight other exemptions exist also, includ
ing discussion of employment contracts and some other person
nel matters behind closed doors.
It would be refreshing to see both the new school board and
county commissioners pledge to avoid secret sessions except un
der an even narrower set of circumstances than state law allows.
It's not easy, but it can be done. The 1990-92 board of commis
sioners made such a commitment and did a pretty good job of
living up to it.
Brunswick County voters last month made it clear they want
change and accountability from the men and women who serve
them. Letting the sun shine on official business is a good place to
Animal Control Supervisor
Commended For Work Here
It's an awful job, but Greg Thompson did it and did it well.
Thompson left last week as Brunswick County's animal con
trol supervisor, a job to which he brought an admirable level of
professionalism in Brunswick County. He approached his work
with the combination of firmness and tenderness it takes to be a
person whose job is to save a few animals and destroy many
more ? a supervisor faced every day with the ugly evidence of
man's capacity for neglect and cruelty.
He made many positive changes in Brunswick County's ani
mal control program. The most important may have been taking
the message of responsible pet ownership and safety into
Brunswick County's public schools, where students responded
eagerly to this tmly nice guy.
Greg Thompson was offered a great job as Durham County's
animal control administrator where he'll be enforcing an animal
control ordinance he says is state-of-the-art. He won't be in
volved with pet euthanasia on a daily basis.
He earned the break, and his position will be a difficult one to
fill so well.
Is U.S. Manufacturing Dying?
BY MIKE WALDEN
As heated discussion over the proposed GATT (General Agreement on
Tariffs and Trade) overtook the airwaves and print media, the state of
America manufacturing again became a topic of discussion.
Some opponents of GATT said approval of the treaty would be another
"nail in the coffin" of American manufacturing, while GATT supporters said
the trade pact would actually mean a boost to America's factories. But both
of these positions beg the more basic question of whether America manufac
turing is in trouble. Do we have reason to believe that America manufactur
ing is slowly dwindling away?
If we measure the importance of American manufacturing by employ
ment in plants and factories, then we do have reason to be concerned about
its continued viability. Employment in American manufacturing rose from
15 million workers after World War II to 21 million workers in 1979.
However, in the 1980s and early 1990s (through 1993), America lost more
than 3 million manufacturing jobs.
Furthermore, as a percentage of all U.S. workers, manufacturing's share
fell from 35 percent in 1946 to 22 percent in 1980 to 16 percent in 1993.
More people now work in government at all levels (18.8 million) than in
manufacturing (17.8 million). ?
It should be pointed out that these trends aren't unique to the United
States among the industrialized world. All major industrialized countries, in
cluding Japan, are. experiencing a shift in jobs out of manufacturing and into
the service sector. In fact, the shift has been slower in the U.S. than in many
other industrial countries.
So should we play "Taps" for America manufacturing? Not necessarily.
Despite the fact that fewer people are working in manufacturing, the output
of our plants and factories continues to increase. Even after taking out infla
tion in prices, the value of American-manufactured products increased four
fold in 1947 to 1992.
In other words, the volume of American-manufactured products went up
by a factor of four in the 45 years from 1947 to 1992. Also, as a share of our
total economic output (called Gross Domestic Product), manufacturing has
not slipped. Over the past 40 years, manufacturing's share of the total econo
my has ranged between 20 and 23 percent.
How can this be? How can the number of workers in .American manu
facturing be declining and yet the volume of output be increasing? The an
swer is easy ? the productivity of people working in manufacturing has in
Productivity is the average volume of output produced by each worker.
Indeed, between 1960 and 1991, productivity of the average American man
ufacturing worker more than doubled. Furthermore, despite public percep
tions to the contrary, a recent survey by the McKinsey Global Institute
showed that American manufacturing workers continue to be more produc
tive than their counterparts in Japan and Germany.
In fact, what has been happening to American manufacturing during the
past 40 years is similar to what has transpired in American agriculture. In
the late 1940s, one in five workers was working on the farm; today, only 2
percent of workers are on the farm. Yet over that same time period, the vol
ume of America farm output has more than doubled.
So whether you think American manufacturing has declined or not de
pends on how you measure it. Clearly there are fewer jobs in manufacturing,
and that trend will likely continue. But the volume of American manufac
tured output is increasing and will probably continue to do so. Also, ttye rela
tive importance of manufacturing to the national economy has not dimin
ished. You decide.
Dr. Walden is a professor and N.C. Cooperative Extension Service
specialist at N.C. State University. He teaches and writes on economic
issues, public policy and personal finance.
Spending Christmas On The Front Lines
Many newspaper people enjoy
making a really big deal about how
hard they work.
Listen to them talking to one an
other ? to anyone who'll listen, actu
ally ? and you'll hear this kind of
bellyaching or boasting, depending
upon the context:
"My husband/wife and I haven't
had a vacation/meal/conversation to
gether SifiCC the iatc 1970s."
"1 haven't seen my children with
their eyes open in six months."
"I've only taken one Christmas
day off since I graduated from col
lege; luckily I kept my scanner on,
because a fire broke out and I was
able to get up from the dinner table
and go cover it."
"If I ever get sick enough that I
can't come to work, you can just
take me out and shoot me."
"Heck, I fractured my skull and
was in a coma for three weeks, and I
still never missed a single day on the
These declarations are meant to
foster kinship among people of com
mon purpose. This worldview signi
fies commitment to an almost divine
calling, despite inevitable profound
sacrifice to oneself and one's loved
Yeah, sure it does. Might as well
carry a banner that says, "I'm a
well-adjusted person. And so is
Truth is, newspaper work these
days ? all of it but the actual printing
process ? involves these primary
tasks: talking, taking notes, driving,
sitting through meetings, typing and
maneuvering a plastic "mouse"
around on your desk to make things
happen on a computer monitor. This
can be tedious, annoying and exces
sively time-consuming, but, face it.
it really shouldn't send us all scram
bling for antacids, analgesics and
adult beverages like it docs.
This time of year I try to give
pause to think about people with the
really hard jobs ? people who work
in stores. I'm not talking about the
people behind the counter watching
a ballgamfi or a soap opera on TV
while you select your purchases. I'm
talking about the ones who have
been instructed they must offer to
Waiting on people is a fine art
consisting of either a naturally gen
erous nature combined with infinite
patience, desperation, or a capacity
for denial that's even more finely
honed than Lisa Marie Presley
I have written for newspapers,
raised a child, been married twice,
taught school, cooked in a restaurant
kitchen, transcribed medical records,
and attempted to assist in the immi
gration of people whose language I
did not speak. Not one of those jobs
was as difficult as the seemingly
simple but frequently excruciating
act of waiting on customers in a re
The customer is always right. But
Nothing is quite as challenging as
being instructed over the telephone
by VISA to somehow discretely
confiscate a customer's credit card,
especially when there are nine peo
ple behind her with cash, good
checks and authorizable charges tap
ping their toes and glaring at you.
There's nothing like spending a
half hour with a sweet little old lady
who's looking for the perfect S3 gift
for her church circle "secret pal"
while a big spender with several
hundred dollars worth of purchases
in hand waits at the register, glaring
at his Rolex, for you to get free and
simply ring him up and let him
Try standing on your feet, 12
hours a day, six days a week, plus
Sunday afternoon, watching for
shoplifters, running off rowdy teen
agers, listening to complaints,
straightening up displays torn up by
people who didn't buy a thing.
Endure the ear-splitting shrieks of
toddlers. Smile as their grandparents
proclaim it's cheaper at the discount
house down the street. Tell them
Merry Christmas as they leave. Act
like you mean it.
Imagine that when the last cus
tomer's order is rung up, the last
package wrapped, the displays sal
vaged, the glass Windexed and the
floors Hoovered, you have to go
home and try to capture (or at least
feign) some of the warmth of the
season for you and yours who ex
pect and deserve it.
And then show up the next morn
ing for 12 fun-filled hours of returns
and exchanges and the last, biggest
clearance sale of the calendar year.
Ho, bo, holy cow!
HOW THE DIP WE GET our THERE?.'
Is There A Doctor In The House? Should Be
WANTED: Physician to serve on
Brunswick County Board of Health.
Must be willing to attend monthly
meetings and participate in occa
sional workshops and committee as
signments. Concern for public
health, a must. Patience, a plus. Ap
ply to board of commissioners. Post
Imagine having a county board of
health without a single member who
is a medical doctor. Sound absurd?
Welcome to Brunswick County.
That's right folks. The governing
board that oversees the county's
restaurant inspections, immunization
programs, child and adult health
clinics and tuberculosis screening
efforts does not have a physician
among its advisers.
OF COURSE the health board is
SUPPOSED to have a doctor. State
law mandates that the membership
of every local health board should
include a physician, a nurse, a den
tist, a veterinarian, a pharmacist, a
professional engineer and a county
commissioner. Three other seats are
reserved for members of the general
The law also requires the health
board to include an optometrist. But
we don't have one of those either.
The county commissioners said they
couldn't find one. So they appointed
a building contractor instead.
Brunswick County has three
builders on its health board. But no
doctor. And no optometrist.
Past and present commissioners
tell me they have tried to find a will
ing eye care professional to serve,
but have been unable to locate one.
Under such conditions, state law al
lows the commissioners to fill the
designated slot with another mem
ber from the general public.
A South Brunswick area builder
has occupied the optometrist seat
since June 1993. He has been an ac
tive board member who frequently
offers his advice about septic sys
tems, which are regulated by the
Another South Brunswick area
builder, who is also a fanner and
former county commissioner, was
recently reappointed to the health
board. He frequently offers his ad
vice about septic systems, which arc
regulated by the health department.
A third South Brunswick area
builder was recently appointed to
the health board. Perhaps he, too,
will have some advice to offer about
septic systems, which are regulated
by the health department.
A doctor named Harry L. Johnson
used to be a member of the health
board. But he resigned in March, cit
ing increasing responsibilities in his
medical practice. In his letter of res
ignation, Dr. Johnson named another
physician who had indicated a will
ingness to serve.
His suggestion was ignored. The
At every meeting of the county
commissioners, there is an item on
the agenda marked "Appointments."
It lists all the county committees and
advisory boards that have vacancies.
The empty seats remain listed on the
monthly agendas until the board
votes to fill them.
In the past nine months, the com
missioners have appointed dozens of
people to all kinds of positions rang
ing from the Brunswick County
Fishermen Advisory Committee to
the Calabash Extraterritorial Juris
But not once in the past nine
months has the health board's doctor
position been listed as vacant on the
agenda. So naturally, the physician
slot on the health board has re
However, when two of the public
positions on the health board came
up for appointment last month, the
commissioners addressed them im
mediately and appointed two South
Brunswick area builders to fill the
seats. But again, the doctor vacancy
was not listed.
Now we have three new county
commissioners. Perhaps they will
remember to put the health board's
physician vacancy on their agenda
and keep it (here until the scat is
The new board of commissioners
will also appoint one of their own to
represent the county on the health
board. It is a decision that should not
be taken lightly.
Brunswick County has more
small sewage treatment systems
than any other county in the state.
Since the health department is re
sponsible for their inspection, it
makes sense to have some health
board members who can offer ad
vise about installing septic systems.
Three such members should be suf
We need more people on the
board who know something about
other aspects of public health. The
appointment of a doctor would cer
tainly help. But these commissioners
are in a position to do even more.
One of their newly elected mem
bers, Leslie Collier, is a nurse and a
former member of the county's nurs
ing home advisory board. Ap
pointing her to the health board
would provide an articulate liaison
between the two boards while en
hancing its expertise on public
Naming Collier to the health
board would also provide the group
with something else it needs: anoth
er woman. Nurse representative
Patricia Nutter is only female advis
er on the 11 -member panel.
The commissioners should also
closely consider another appoint*
ment Pharmacist Joey Galloway has
been a valuable health board mem
ber at the meetings he attends. But
due to other commitments. Gallo
way is frequently absent.
Before renaming him to the health
board, the commissioners should
find out whether Galloway feels he
might be too busy to actively partici
Brunswick County is one of the
fastest-growing counties in the state.
It needs a knowledgeable and ag
gressive health board that can keep
up with the pressures increased de
velopment will bring.
Let's keep the health board
m Most all the time, the whole year round, there ain 't no flies
But jest 'fore Christmas I'm as good as I kin be!
? Eugene Field
m Oh, but he was a tightfisted hand at the grindstone.
Scrooge ! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping,
clutching, covetous old sinner ! Hard and sharp as flint,
from which no steel had ever struck our generous fire;
secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster.
? Charles Dickens
? At Chritmas I no more desire a rose
Than wish a snow in May's newfangled mirth;
But like of each thing that in season grows.
? William Shakespeare