County retreats to Raleigh for work

Three-day session begins on Thursday

By Bob Shiles -

LUMBERTON — Robeson County commissioners go to Raleigh on Thursday for their three-day annual retreat, and Hurricane Matthew will be an often-discussed subject.

The retreat will be held at Hyatt Raleigh North Hills from Thursday through Saturday. The retreat was held in Raleigh last year, but this will be the first time it will be held at the Hyatt.

County Manager Ricky Harris said getting the commissioners out of the county and into a different environment helps them better concentrate and work on county business without interruptions. Retreats, he said, not only provide valuable information about county issues, but also helps commissioners build relationships with one another.

Department heads will travel to Raleigh to make presentations and update the commissioners on what the departments have been doing for the past year and their plans for the coming year.

“This year we have a lot of new department heads,” Harris said. “This will be the first time some of them have come before the commissioners.”

Hurricane Matthew recovery will be a major topic of discussion at this year’s retreat, Harris said. Matthew blew through the county in early October and caused flooding that devastated the area. Numerous county, state and federal agencies, and nonprofits and community organizations still are working to help “hurricane survivors.”

Commissioner Tom Taylor, the board’s chairman, said he expects the retreat to be informative.

“I really do think they are helpful,” he said. “This is a chance for the department heads to give us their ideas, and for us to get an idea of the direction they want their departments to go.”

He hopes the commissioners will spend time discussing the renovation of the former BB&T building in downtown Lumberton. The county eventually hopes to use the building to house county offices that are now located in different locations throughout the county, including the crowded county courthouse.

“It’s time we get working on this building and get county offices all under one roof,” he said.

Board Vice Chairman Raymond Cummings said he always finds the annual retreat a good place to get information that can be used to make the county a better place for all of its residents.

“This is a good time for us all to talk together and get updates on what all of our departments are doing,” Cummings said. “This is all about planning. It helps us to operate efficiently.”

Three-day session begins on Thursday

By Bob Shiles

Bob Shiles can be reached at 910-416-5165.

Bob Shiles can be reached at 910-416-5165.

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