Looking back: Board creates secretary position

Published 9:40 am Wednesday, January 6, 2016

by Clyde Parker

Jan. 1, 1966

The Southampton County Board of Supervisors recently created the position of County Executive Secretary by a narrow four to three vote. Chairman Will Story’s vote was the decisive one, as he cast his vote in favor of the proposal and broke a three-to-three deadlock.

The vote came on a motion by Supervisor Paul Councill of Hunterdale. “I propose that the post of executive secretary for Southampton County be created.”

“I second the motion,” said J. P. Simmons of Sebrell.

During the ensuing discussion, the supervisors were divided on the issue.

Councill explained his motion by saying, “I feel that we already need a full-time man to look after County affairs.”

“We’re expanding and becoming more urban each year whether we like it or not,” he continued. “With the number of federal programs growing each year, we certainly need someone who can keep up with them, advise us, and compile facts and information, so that we can make the right decisions.”

N.S. Boykin, of Ivor, who opposed the measure, said, “I do not see where a full-time man would save the County much money. I can’t see where the man would save us as much as his salary would cost us,” he added.

J.P. Simmons, of Sebrell, said he felt that the County needed a man now and definitely would in the next year or two. “If we wait until we need him, it will be a year too late,” he said.

Fred Worrell, of Newsoms, expressed his opposition to the measure by saying, “I can’t see how we can get an executive secretary before we get a probation officer for Judge Williams. We have been guaranteed that a probation officer will save us money and we sure don’t have any assurance that an executive secretary will do anything but cost us more money.”

Allen Partridge, of Drewryville, joined Worrell in opposition to setting up the new post.

“I feel that creating this position before we have heard from a committee formed to study the cost involved is putting the cart before the horse,” said Partridge.

“But creating the position isn’t obligating us or the County to hire anybody,” answered Councill. “We have got to start somewhere; and if, after creating the post, we decide later not to hire a man — then we can let the matter drop right there.”

George Davis, of Boykins, said “The County needs a full-time man.”

The motion was carried with Davis, Councill and Simmons voting “for” and Worrell, Partridge and Boykin voting “against.” The deadlock was broken by Chairman Will Story, of Capron, with his “yes” vote, causing the motion to be carried.

An executive secretary, with a pay range between $6,000 and $12,000, annually, is expected to be hired by July 1, 1966.




Thomas E. Powers, Manager of the Hercules Powder Co. here, has been elected President of the Franklin Chamber of Commerce. He succeeds R. Ashby Rawls, a Franklin insurance man.

The Chamber’s Board of Directors unanimously elected powers to a one-year term last week at their regular monthly meeting at the Cypress Cove Country Club.

Other officers elected were Francis E. Clark as vice president, to head the organization’s civic division, and Joe P. King, Jr. as vice president to head the industrial division.

Clark is a Franklin lawyer and King is Personnel Manager at Union Bag-Camp Paper Corp.

In commenting on his new post, Powers said, “I have no major changes in mind at present and I won’t until I get a better feel of the job and what needs to be done.

I will say that I feel that Ashby Rawls has done an outstanding job in reorganizing the Chamber. He has given us a fine foundation to build on.”

“The Chamber will, of course, continue to do work for the businesses that we now have, but at the same time I think that we should continue to seek new industry which will contribute to the growth of our city.

Powers and his wife, the former Lou Bowen of Tifton, Georgia, reside at 1208 Clay St., in Franklin with their three daughters Claire 15, Peggy 11, and Susan 9.

Powers has been employed with Hercules for 17 years. He was Assistant Plant Manager in Savannah, Georgia before assuming, in 1964, his post as Manager of the Company’s Franklin operation.

CLYDE PARKER is a retired human resources manager for the former Franklin Equipment Co. and a member of the Southampton County Historical Society. His email address is magnolia101@charter.net