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County administrator to head PSA

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By Christopher Brooke, Reporter

HILLSVILLE — The Carroll County supervisors added responsibilities for water and sewer projects and operations to the county administrator's duties after a joint closed meeting Monday between the county board and the Public Service Authority.

The board and the authority members emerged from an unusual joint closed session at the supervisors' regular April meeting and ended the interim appointment of Assistant County Administrator Ronald Newman as director of the PSA.

The closed session lasted about three hours. County officials went into closed session to discuss personnel matters, as well as disposition of real estate, prospective business and legal matters.

Supervisor Sam Dickson noted in a motion afterward that the supervisors had loaned the assistant county administrator to the PSA as interim director.

"After a couple months we decided we're going to bring him back under the board of supervisors as planning agent and also working with subdivision policies and other duties that will relate to long range planning," Dickson said.

The supervisors assigned duties of serving as director of the Public Service Authority to County Administrator Gary

Larrowe, effective immediately.

County Attorney Jim Cornwell noted that there's a continuing need for planning activities such as finishing the subdivision ordinance and updating the comprehensive plan.

Cornwell said it's a good idea to assign those duties to Newman.

"He will be director of planning, as I understand it, and land use, and he'll also be subdivision agent," Cornwell said.

Supervisor Wes Hurst seconded the motion. All the supervisors voted yes. Supervisor Manus McMillian was absent.

Authority members approved the same motion, as made by David Hutchins.

Having the county administrator serve as director of the public service authority happens in a lot of counties, Dickson said after the meeting. That is the case, he knows, in Tazewell County, for example.

Dickson expects the new arrangement to run smoothly with help from the two assistant county administrators.

"What he delegates off will be up to him. It was just a move to make things more efficient."

Supervisors' Chairman Hutchins said county officials are attempting to work on economic development issues and there needs to be a closer focus on long-range planning.