ELIZABETHTOWN — Bladen County commissioners paid respects to two lawmen in their regular meeting Monday night.
The late Kevin T. Conner, a Highway Patrol trooper killed in the line of duty last month, was remembered in a moment of silence to begin the evening. Commissioners also plan to honor him with a marker outside the county courthouse.
Capt. Jeff Singletary, newly retired from the Sheriff’s Office, was given a plaque and many praises for his 30 years of service. His wife and family were present for the ceremony and Sheriff Jim McVicker shared some insight on just how valuable he has been to all of the citizens of the county, including ways they might not be aware.
“Everybody knows Jeff Singletary,” McVicker said. But, he said, “People don’t realize how much money this fella has saved the county. It’s amazing what Jeff Singletary can do with a dollar. He is really very careful about our money. He will certainly be missed. He is very respected.
“He’s going to be retired for 30 days, and then will be back part-time.”
Singletary’s retirement was effective Nov. 1.
Commissioners received updates from Southeastern Community & Family Services, the Division on Aging, approved policy changes requested by the Health and Human Services Agency and sent a request to the school board with regard to property adjacent to the Paul R. Brown Leadership Academy.
Chairman Ray Britt asked the board to consider revisiting county policy and protocol as it relates to county employees who are deemed essential during a time of emergency. He explained three parts of an equation: that hardships might, and have, arisen for some called in to work; that payment is the same whether employees come in or stay home; and that the county is often reimbursed for these essential workers by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, meaning “we’re getting that employee for free.”
“We need to explain it to the people better,” Britt said, clarifying that he is open to change, but not saying a change is necessarily mandated. “There is some heartburn about it. I think we need to study that, and make it clear to people why we’ve chosen to go that way.”
Commissioners were asked to “relinquish ownership of the Extended Hope Building, and all property associated with the building, and the remaining property of the original ten (10) acre tract to Bladen County Youth Focus Project, Inc.” The request included the language “with no options to be returned to the county.”
Commissioners, approving 8-1 a motion by Charles Ray Peterson, will request the school board to insert language that if the property is “used for other reasons” than for which it is given, it reverts back to the Board of Education. Charles Cogdell was the lone vote in dissent; commissioners’ request is merely that, and school board members have final choice.
Commissioners are considering submitting a goal to the N.C. Association of County Commissioners federal legislative agenda, in light of the flooding in Bladenboro and the timeliness of actions involving FEMA, and owners who decide to rebuild, relocate or simply close shop.
Retired Capt. Jeff Singletary of the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office accepts congratulations from county commissioners, and a plaque from Chairman Ray Britt, at Monday’s meeting.
Alan Wooten can be reached at 910-247-9132 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @alanwooten19.