The Bladen County Board of Commissioners has been called to the principal’s office a few times over the past several months for a variety of reasons. But we are putting the paddle away today and changing course.
Monday’s regular meeting of the county commissioners had an agenda that didn’t appear to include anything controversial — not that that has ever kept a degree of craziness from erupting.
But this time, the agenda was covered in lickity-split time, moving smoothly along without so much as a hiccup.
Two items, however, brought forth by Commissioners Charles Ray Peterson and Jimmy Smith surely had some in the audience holding their collective breath. But to the board’s credit, each issue was unanimously passed without an utterance of public discussion.
The first came early in the meeting when Peterson made a motion to immediately hire three paramedics and two basic EMTs for the county’s EMS service. Smith quickly seconded the motion.
For the better part of two years, help for the county’s EMS force has been an issue of contention among the board members. While there has been general agreement there is a need for additional medics, the solutions to achieve that — from more money in the budget to a quarter-cent sales tax — have put commissioners at odds.
But on Monday, not a single commissioner so much as raised an eyebrow at Peterson’s motion, and seven “ayes” gave the issue unanimous support — as well as Bladen County five new medics.
The second issue came well after the majority of those in attendance had already filed out of the meeting chambers. Commissioners went into a closed session and, within minutes, returned to act on a motion by Peterson, seconded by Smith, to give all county employees a 2-percent raise retroactive to July 1.
Once again, with money tight and similar issues often drawing the board into some degree of ludicrous folly, the few left in the room were treated to complete agreement and yet another unanimous vote.
The raise, which was budgeted by the county in its fiscal year 2016-17 budget, will give more spending power to its employees, polish their quality of life a bit brighter and send more dollars through businesses of the county — all of which will help to bolster the economy here.
We can’t help but give applause where applause is due, and on Monday the county commissioners were deserving of a standing ovation. As refreshing as it was, it is our hope there will be more examples of the same kind of working together in the months and years ahead.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Unity is strength … when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.” (Mattie J.T. Stepanek)