Special Called Meeting
Pitt County Board of Commissioners
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Board of Commissioners met on Tuesday September 6, 2011 at 9:00 AM in the EOC, Pitt County
Office Building, 1717 W 5th Street, Greenville, North Carolina.
Board Members Present:
Mark W. Owens, Jr., Chairman
Beth Ward, Vice-Chairman
Eugene James, Commissioner
Tom Johnson, Commissioner
David Hammond, Commissioner
Jimmy Garris, Commissioner
Melvin McLawhorn, Commissioner
Glen Webb, Commissioner
Ephraigm Smith, Commissioner
Scott Elliott, County Manager
Melonie Bryan, Deputy County Manager/Chief Financial Officer
Janis Gallagher, County Attorney
Sarah W. Radcliff, Deputy Clerk to the Board
Noel Lee, Emergency Management Director
Phil Dickerson, County Engineer
Kiara Jones, Public Information Director
Florida Hardy, Human Resources Director
Sandy Andrews, Assistant Human Resources Director
John Demary, Solid Waste Director
Chairman Owens and County Manager Scott Elliott welcomed everyone to the meeting. He stated
Pitt County has been declared by FEMA for Public Assistance (PA) as well as Individual Assistance
(IA) thanked Noel Lee and all who worked in the EOC throughout the storm, as well as those in the
other departments, for all of their hard work.
Noel Lee, Emergency Management Director, gave a recap of the events that occurred prior, during
and after Hurricane Irene. He stated three shelters were open in Pitt County on Friday at 6:00p.m.
before the storm hit. He stated the EOC was open and operated from 5p.m. on Friday until 6p.m. on
Sunday. He said Wellcome Middle School had 340 people, D.H. Conley High School had 144 people
and Farmville Middle School had 159 people seek shelter and all shelters closed at noon on Sunday
following the storm. He stated after receiving several calls that people still needed sheltering, the
Boys and Girls Club was opened on August 30th for those who were still without power that needed
shelter; however, only three people showed up at the shelter and it closed the following morning. Mr.
Lee stated eleven individuals were placed in long-term care facilities and seventeen animals were
housed by Animal Control during the storm. He said a Greenville Utilities Commission
representatives stated this was the largest power outage ever reported in the history of Pitt County.
Mr. Lee stated they were now waiting on the Applicant’s Briefing meeting to begin. He said the state
and FEMA will come in and meet with all the different agencies and tell them what they need to do.
The agencies will then have to submit an application and then someone will be assigned to start the
work. He said that should begin on September 13th. He stated he had met with a FEMA
representative regarding a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) and that the Ag. Center had been
approved as the site but he did not know when it would open. At this time, everyone with damages
needs to call FEMA’s toll free number or go online to register for relief.
Commissioner Hammond asked if the courthouse roof had been repaired. Mr. Elliot stated the
portion over the District Attorney’s office has been repaired and they are in the process of repairing
the other portions. He said the insurance adjuster was in the process of touring all of the facilities
Commissioner McLawhorn asked about the current tornado watch and effects from Katia. Mr. Lee
stated Katia did not pose a threat to us at this time. He said remnants of Tropical Storm Lee were
headed our way and that was where some of the tornado watches were coming from.
Commissioner Garris asked if people who had insurance needed to call FEMA. Marvin Davis,
FEMA representative, stated people should call even if they have insurance coverage because
insurance may not cover everything. He stated FEMA offers low interest loans and grants as forms of
aid. He said you should register with FEMA for any kind of loss or damage. Commissioner
McLawhorn asked about food that was lost. Mr. Davis said FEMA does not cover debris removal,
downed fences or loss of food in the refrigerator. He said they are looking at essential livability
issues and things that are needed to live in their house or somewhere else in the interim.
Commissioner Johnson asked Mr. Lee if a FEMA office would be set up in the Ag. Center. Mr. Lee
said they were in the process of setting that up. Commissioner Johnson stated people know where the
Ag. Center is, but do not know the number to call. He said people were confused and the County
needed to minimize the confusion. Mr. Lee stated that information was being given out through the
Public Information Office via press releases. Mr. Davis stated FEMA Representative Marsha Hill
was working with the news media daily to get out the information to the public. Mr. Davis stated the
Disaster Recovery Center was primarily to answer questions about aid and that people should call
and register with FEMA prior to going to the Ag. Center. He said if someone goes to the Ag. Center
that has not registered, phones will be available and they can register there. Commissioner Johnson
said people are so confused that they need someone to put the phone in their hands. Mr. Lee said
Community Relations Teams would be out helping people and making calls for them. Commissioner
Johnson stated the City of Greenville had their main offices open on Labor Day and the people were
working. He stated he walked the halls of the County Office building and nobody was working. Mr.
Elliott stated all of the Convenience Centers were open for debris drop-off, the Transfer Station was
open and Noel Lee was on site as needed. Mr. Elliott stated everyone that was needed was working.
Commissioner Johnson stated the City Manager was working in his office. Mr. Elliott stated he was
working out of his home and had talked to the City Manager. Commissioner Johnson stated we need
to be visible during these times.
Vice-Chairman Ward stated the City had condemned some residences and she asked if those people
should call FEMA as well. Mr. Davis stated they should call the FEMA number and apply for
Commissioner James stated it was good to have grants. He said these people are already debt-heavy
and most of them cannot afford to pay back a loan. Mr. Davis stated the grant money will go to those
who need it most, but they did not know how much grant money would be available. Mr. Davis said
they are trying to be as generous as possible within the law. Commissioner James stated he did not
like all of the overtime that was paid in 1999 as a result of Hurricane Floyd.
Mr. John Demary, Solid Waste Director spoke about the Debris Management Plan. He showed some
pictures of the transfer station and stated their hours have been extended until further notice. They
will be open Monday through Friday from 7am to 7pm, Saturday from 7am to 5pm and Sunday from
9am to 4pm. Mr. Demary stated they usually average between 200 and 225 vehicles daily and they
had 768 come through on the Monday after the storm. He stated he had received some positive
feedback and felt everything ran as smoothly as it could have under the circumstances. Mr. Elliott
stated Solid Waste was measuring by tonnage and by cubic yards to make sure they are covered for
reimbursement purposes. He said that was causing a few delays. Mr. Demary stated the convenience
sites were open extended hours as well. He stated they have pulled out 220 loads or about 8,500
cubic yards of yard waste from the sites. Mr. Demary said they have put an extra truck on the road to
help with the increase. He said things were finally starting to slow down a little bit. Mr. Demary said
there are days when they don’t even dump boxes and on Wednesday they dumped 29 times.
Commissioner Garris asked if, now that we have been declared a disaster county by FEMA, yard
debris could be put by the road and NCDOT would pick it up. Mr. Elliott stated he had a
conversation with NCDOT last week and they stated once we were declared by FEMA, they will
clear all of the right-of-ways. Commissioner Garris stated that would lessen the activity at the
Commissioner McLawhorn stated he saw where a lot of private contractors were leaving the debris
out in the right-of-way or on the neighbor’s property so the City would pick it up and he thought they
were supposed to clean up what they cleared. Mr. Demary stated that was between the property
owner and the contractor. Mr. Elliott said the City had a prearranged contract to spend up to
$500,000 once the storm hit to clean up the debris.
Mr. Demary stated he had more debris now than it usually takes six months to collect and they plan
to start grinding it up into mulch. He stated they have enough space at the Transfer Station to handle
quite a bit more debris. He stated the Ayden site would be completely full by the end of tomorrow
night and he would need to contract with E.R. Lewis to use their facility on Edwards Farm Road. Mr.
Demary said now that Pitt County has been declared through FEMA, the County should have no
problem getting reimbursed for these funds.
Mr. Elliott asked if the County charged for the mulch. Mr. Demary stated no.
Mr. Demary stated the Debris Management Plan was approved in July by the Board of County
Commissioners. He stated the County also has a Mutual Aid Agreement with NCDOT to allow the
County to work with NCDOT to pick up the material that is on the right-of-way. Mr. Elliott stated he
needed permission from the Board to execute any contracts that NCDOT asks for. Mr. Dickerson
stated the County is not allowed to pick up any debris on state rights-of-way, city streets, or private
property without their permission. He suggested we let the state do what they are going to do and
make a decision at that time.
Commissioner Johnson said he wanted to know how much money we were talking about before he
made a decision. Mr. Elliott stated in light of Phil’s comments, the County will just wait until DOT is
finished before moving forward.
Commissioner James stressed that the County does not need to spend money to pay for expenses that
FEMA will pay for.
Mr. Elliott stated the County is currently processing payroll for this week. He stated when the agenda
was put together the County had not been declared for Public Assistance by FEMA. Now that the
County has been declared, the County will be reimbursed if the Board chooses to pay the non-exempt
employees who came in and worked over the weekend. Mr. Elliott stated the Board revised the
Personnel Ordinance to say that if there are sufficient funds in each department, he would authorize
the payment as County Manager. He recommended paying the employees rather than giving them
comp-time to make them feel good about what they had done. He stated this was just for non-exempt
employees. He said exempt employees would receive comp-time, hour for hour, for their work. If an
employee leaves before they use their comp-time, they will lose it and not be paid for it.
Vice-Chairman Ward asked how many non-exempt employees worked during the storm. Ms. Bryan
stated there were about 200 employees. Commissioner Garris said paying non-exempt employees and
giving comp-time to the exempt employees was consistent with North Carolina law.
Motion to pay the non-exempt employees that worked during the hurricane.
Motion made by Commissioner Johnson
Motion was seconded by Commission McLawhorn.
Motion passed unanimously.
Commissioner Webb asked if the Drainage Commission was doing anything. Chairman Owens
stated Mr. Elliott, Commissioner James and Commissioner Smith needed to take care of that.
Chairman Owens asked Mr. Elliott if he had anything further regarding compensating exempt
employees. Mr. Elliott stated they had already taken care of that.
Vice-Chairman Ward said the biggest difference between this hurricane and the hurricane in 1999
was the debris.
Commissioner McLawhorn stated they needed better communication on where the water and feeding
sites were. Mr. Elliott stated press releases were sent out to all the commissioners. Vice- Chairman
Ward stated The Daily Reflector also had all of the information. Kiara Jones, Public Information
Director stated Pitt County’s website was also updated.
Motion to adjourn meeting at 9:57am.
Motion made by Commissioner James.
Motion seconded by Vice-Chairman Ward.
Motion passed unanimously.
Sarah W. Radcliff
Deputy Clerk to the Board