BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- The squeaky wheel got the grease. For the first time in Brunswick County history, commissioners have put a formal compensation policy in place. County residents feel like their voices have been heard as the policy describing what commissioners will and will not be compensated for is finalized.
Ken Proctor is a Brunswick County resident and a former Ocean Isle town commissioner. Proctor asked many questions Monday night.
"Where was the county manager, and where was the director of finance?" Proctor asked. "Somebody's got to stand up and tell the king, 'You don't have any clothes on.' Somebody should have said that, and somebody should have said, 'We're spending money that we shouldn't be spending.'"
For more than ten years Brunswick County Commissioners were getting compensated for meetings they attended, but there was no definition of the word meeting.
"I think the issue was in that definition, and a lot of the flack we caught was on funerals and phone calls," said Brunswick County Commission chair Bill Sue.
Brunswick County Commissioners receive an annual salary of around $13,000. In some cases, the reimbursements they were receiving for mileage and attending meetings more than doubled the amount of money they were getting from taxpayers. That left a bad taste in the mouth of many residents.
"They knew in their heart what was right and what was wrong," Proctor said. "It may be legal what they were doing, but morally and ethically it was just not right. It was just wrong to do this."
At Monday night's County Commission meeting, the commissioners unanimously approved a new compensation policy. It replaces the former "gentleman's agreement" they had to reimburse themselves.
The chairman of the board will now receive a salary of $26,000 per year. Other commissioners will get $21,000 per year. Sue has yet to concede there was anything wrong with the old policy, but he thinks this is a good change.
"I think it's a better way," Sue said. "It takes all the decision out of it as to what's a meeting. You know what you're going to get."