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Winterville resident upset by official's remark


The Times-Leader

Saturday, June 23, 2018

WINTERVILLE — An Winterville resident has raised objections to comments made by an elected official regarding those who serve on the town’s volunteer boards.

Last month, Winterville Councilman Ricky Hines suggested town staff be directed to investigate term limits for the volunteer-held positions on the planning board, board of adjustments, tree board and recreation board.

“The reason given for this (directive) was the council person felt some volunteer board members were complacent,” said Doug Kilian during the public comment portion of the June 11 Winterville Town Council meeting. “The definition of complacent is ‘showing smug or uncritical satisfaction with oneself or achievement.’

“Three days later, there was the annual volunteers appreciation dinner,” Kilian said. “This is for all volunteer board members. It was attended by many members of the town staff to introduce their boards … only two members of the town council attended and spoke words of encouragement to the volunteers.”

Councilmen Tony Moore and Johnny Moye attended the dinner.

“All of these were volunteers approved by this (council). Each has a term, which at the end they can elect to continue or not,”  Kilian said. “At that time, they must be approved again by this (council). Over time, vacancies open up due to illness, people moving away or discouragement of the volunteer.

“Only recently has there been enough applications to fill the planning and zoning board openings as they come up,” Kilian said. “Exactly one week after (Hines’ comments), the planning and zoning board meeting was held. The board members were all seated when the time to start arrived, and proceeded diligently to do the work at hand. There were no complacent members there, in my opinion. I did not hear any complacent members at the volunteer dinner.

I am opposed to term limits for the volunteer boards,” he said. “I feel it is a poorly thought through comment that should not gain credence by this (council).

“As one member of the planning and zoning board said, ‘If that is the way they feel, they can have my seat.’ If this council person wants term limits, let them propose term limits for the paid members of the council, not the volunteers,” Kilian said.

Kilian and his wife have lived in Winterville for 18 years. He has served on the planning and zoning board for six years.

“I am appreciative of all our volunteers,” said Councilwoman Veronica Roberson during the council comment portion of the meeting.

Hines added, “I am the chairman of the county planning board. I understand all you do. I do respect all volunteers. I have been one myself.”

The town’s volunteers are vital to Winterville, according to Winterville Manager Terri Parker.

“Thank you,” Parker said addressing town volunteers. “You keep Winterville growing and in good standing.”

No action was taken regarding imposing term limits on the volunteer position. No staff report on the matter was presented.

The Times Leader serves southern Pitt County and the towns of Ayden, Grifton and Farmville.