County doesn’t want full council at meetings

At Monday’s Vance County Board of Commissioners meeting, County Manager Jerry Ayscue advised the board that the Intergovernmental Committee wants the city to use a more formal structure during intergovernmental meetings. Ayscue requested the support of the full board for a letter from the committee to the city requesting “more structure in the representation” from Henderson.

Although not explicitly stated, the problem hinges on how many City Council members attend the joint meetings. The last intergovernmental meeting was held over dinner at the Silo Restaurant on Sept. 28. All City Council members were in attendance except Harriette Butler, whereas only three commissioners, Tim Pegram, Terry Garrison and Tommy Hester, attended for Vance County.

Butler, Bernard Alston and John Wester compose the Finance and Intergovernmental Relations Committee for the city, although Butler and Wester will be leaving office next month.

County Commissioner Danny Wright said it might be presumptuous to tell the city how many council members may attend the meetings. He noted that such a request could be perceived as negative.

Pegram said the committee should meet as a committee, not a full council. “If they want to meet as a full body, then we can consider whether we want to meet as a full body.”

Commissioner Wilbur Boyd said the county could “suggest in a diplomatic way.”

Garrison advised the board that the city has designated representatives, but other members of the council exercise their right to attend.

The intergovernmental meetings fall under the state’s open-meetings law. Any member of the public may attend. The next meeting is scheduled for January.

Ayscue received the commissioners’ go-ahead to compose the letter to the City Council.