LUMBERTON — Commissioner Tom Taylor says he won’t back away from the promise he recently made to call for a study of how members on the Robeson County Board of Commissioners are compensated and see if any changes need to be made.
Taylor said that he will make a motion at Tuesday’s commissioners meeting asking the county’s administration to conduct an investigation to determine if the commissioners’ pay and benefits are “in line” with those received by the commissioners in other counties.
“I’m going to do what I said,” Taylor told the newspaper early last week. “I have nothing to hide.”
Commissioner Roger Oxendine has told The Robesonian previously that he would support a study by the county staff, and Chairman Noah Woods also indicated he would be on board. Five of the eight county commissioners would need to vote in support of the study.
Taylor’s recommendation will be to ask that the staff investigate other counties to determine how they handle such things as discretionary funds, salaries, monthly stipends, health insurance and retirement. These perks have historically been approved by the Robeson County commissioners without open discussion by being included in new budgets that take effect on July 1.
The Robeson County commissioners are currently the fourth highest paid in the state when salaries and their travel stipend — the highest in the state at $700 a month — are combined; each receives $40,000 a year in discretionary funds to allocate to organizations and projects, money that is distributed without a vote of the full board; both the commissioners and their families can receive free health insurance; and the commissioners have a 457 retirement plan where the county matches 4 percent of their salaries.
A random survey by The Robesonian of surrounding counties has found that most counties do not provide their commissioners with these perks. If any of these benefits are provided, they are not as lucrative as those offered the commissioners in Robeson County.
Among other business at Tuesday’s meeting:
— The commissioners will hold a public hearing on incentives for a new industrial project known only as “Project Mule.”
— State Rep. Charles Graham will update the commissioners on state legislative issues.
— A public hearing will be held on a request by Judy M. Locklear, of Pembroke, for a conditional-use permit to establish a day support facility on one acre in a Residential Agricultural district.
The commissioners are meeting Tuesday instead of Monday because of Labor Day. Tuesday’s meeting begins at 6 p.m. in the commissioners room of the county administration building on North Elm Street.
Reach staff writer Bob Shiles at 910-272-6117 or email@example.com.