LAURINBURG — The Scotland County Economic Development Corporation agreed on Wednesday to pursue bringing three ex-officio members to its current board.
Over the last month, the forum’s five voting members — county commissioners Guy McCook, Carol McCall, and Bob Davis, Laurinburg mayor Tommy Parker, and city council member Curtis Leak — have discussed expanding the board to incorporate a more diverse range of informed voices.
The EDC agreed to pursue the establishment of a formal subcommittee consisting of representatives of the Scotland County Schools, Laurinburg Downtown Revitalization Corporation, St. Andrews University, the Scotland Health Care System and the Tourism Development authority along with an attorney, a banker, a plant manager, a real estate agent, and an agribusiness official.
The chair of that subcommittee may serve as one of the ex-officio members. McCall proposed that representatives of the Chamber of Commerce, Richmond Community College, the Division of Workforce Solutions, and the Laurinburg-Maxton Airport will rotate in and out of the other two seats every two years.
“It’s really changing the bylaws of the EDC and formalizing the small ED group as a part of the structure of economic development,” McCall said. “I think it empowers that group and moves it from information and sharing into action and to real conversation.”
County Manager Kevin Patterson, who currently serves as an ex-officio EDC member along with City Manager Charles Nichols, proposed a structure including an independent business growth and recruitment corporation comprising a five-to-10-member board of prominent business leaders. That would take several years to organize.
A change to the EDC bylaws will require the approval of the EDC board, the Scotland County Board of Commissioners, and the Laurinburg City Council. Leak spoke against adding voting members who are not elected officials.
“I’ve got 8,000 people in District 1 … and when I make a mistake, if I make a mistake, then I’m accountable,” he said. “All of us that people vote for, we’re accountable. If you’re at the table, and you’re a resource person, you basically ain’t accountable to the people but you bring something to the table.”
Mary Katherine Murphy can be reached at 910-506-3169.