North Carolina Newspapers

    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.
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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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