IOW leaders discuss sharing services

Published 11:47 am Wednesday, September 19, 2012

State Del. Rick Morris, R-Carrollton, left, speaks with Albert Burkhardt of the Carrollton Civic League after a meeting with Isle of Wight County, Windsor and Smithfield to discuss shared services. -- DALE LIESCH/TIDEWATER NEWS

SMITHFIELD—Isle of Wight School Board member Herb DeGroft thinks schools and the county government could share many services including purchasing, payroll and legal services.

DeGroft was among local leaders who met Monday with Del. Rick Morris, R-Carrollton, to discuss the possibility of shared services between the county, schools and towns.

“With 99 percent of people here being new, we can get past these old people who couldn’t give up the power,” DeGroft said. “It’s not about power; it’s about saving money.”

Morris intends to introduce a bill in January that would provide a locality in his district with a consultant to look at the best options for consolidating services with the state picking up half the tab. He plans on creating a pilot program that can be expanded throughout the state.

“I really think we can do this and take it all through the commonwealth,” Morris said.

He is still researching the cost of a consultant.

In addition, Morris is asking each locality in his district that includes Franklin and Southampton County to develop what he’s calling a “government efficiency task force” made up of an administrator and one board member from each governing body.

Carrsville District Supervisor Rex Alphin is having an independent consultant is a good idea.

“Having someone who’s independent and could see through the walls would be a good idea,” he said. “The county’s fighting its issues and the school board is fighting theirs.”

DeGroft also likes the idea.

“I think you have to have somebody with an objective outlook,” DeGroft said.

Supervisor Chairman Al Casteen said the biggest issue with hiring a consultant would be cost.

Morris called another meeting for 8 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 9, in the schools’ central office in Smithfield.