Stakeholders pleased with FSEDI board

Published 9:47 am Friday, May 21, 2010

■ Ninth in a series

FRANKLIN—Local officials say they are pleased with the structure of the governing Board of Directors for Franklin-Southampton Economic Development Inc., as well as the people who are serving on it.

Each of the five members who serve on the FSEDI board are appointed by one of the five stakeholders in the organization: Southampton County, the City of Franklin, the Franklin-Southampton Area Chamber of Commerce, the Camp Foundations and Franklin-Southampton Futures. Each appointee to the board serves for three years.

“I think it gives good representation from all of the parties involved,” Teresa Beale, executive director of the Chamber, said Thursday. “It was set up that way in the very beginning, to have all of those entities play a part.”

E. Warren Beale Jr. was appointed by the Chamber and serves as the board’s chairman. He serves alongside vice chairman William Peak, treasurer Harriet Bain Duck, secretary Felicia Blow and C. Harrell Turner.

The Camp Foundations appointed Peak to the board. Meanwhile, Duck was appointed by Franklin-Southampton Futures, Blow was given her seat by the Franklin City Council and Turner was tapped by the Southampton County Board of Supervisors.

Teresa Beale is not related to Warren Beale, the Chamber’s representative to the FSEDI board.

“It has worked out very well for us,” Southampton County Board of Supervisors Chairman Dallas Jones, who represents the Drewryville District, said Thursday. “Harrell Turner is a good man; he lives in the county and he knows what we need. Southampton’s interests are being looked after by him.”

Jones said Turner was also a good fit for the FSEDI board because he is a former member of the Southampton County Board of Supervisors, representing the Boykins-Branchville District until December 1995.

“I think it’s doing extremely well,” Franklin Mayor Jim Councill said of the FSEDI board on Thursday. “It’s doing what it was designed to do, bringing business people in and getting them involved with this project. All of them have a vested interest in the success of our economic development.”

Councill said Blow “brings a lot of corporate experience with her. She’s been very valuable to us because she understands government and economic development, and I think she’s been a real asset to us.”

When FSEDI was incorporated in 2005, it was specified in the articles of incorporation that two members of the Board of Directors would initially be given three-year terms, two members would serve for two years and one member would serve for a single year. This was done to stagger the appointment schedule so that no more than two members are up for reappointment in any given year.

Blow and Turner were given the initial three-year terms and were both reappointed in 2009. Duck and Peak were given the two-year terms and were both reappointed in 2008. Warren Beale was re-appointed in 2007 after serving the one-year term.

The articles of incorporation for FSEDI further stipulated that with the exception of the members chosen at the founding, future members would be selected for the board and may succeed themselves for a maximum of three three-year terms.

Although Warren Beale has led the FSEDI board since it was created, and is up for re-appointment in June, he said he was unsure about whether he would continue as chairman.

“I don’t know,” he said Tuesday. “I will just have to test the waters and see if I’m wanted. It’s something that I’m passionate about because I grew up here, I live here and I want this area to prosper. I know we have some tough times in front of us.”