County Government 101: First Night

Last night was our first of 14 classes, the Interim County Manager, Gary McSwain, gave us an overview
of the course.
Only 8 showed up for this free course, but these are 8 people very interested in their County Government.

Everyone attending was asked to introduce themselves and explain their reason for coming. Again and again the answer was that they wanted to know more about how their government works. To say the very least, we weren't disappointed.



Mr. McSwain started with an abridged lesson on North Carolina Counties and gave us a 17 page handout, (chapter 3 of Local Government in North Carolina - 2nd Edition by Gordon P. Whitaker.

Counties were a key part of colonial government in North Carolina. As British control and European settlement extended westward from the coast, the British authorities set up new counties to provide government for the colonists. The governor appointed justices of the peace in each county. The justices served as both the court and the administrators for the county. The justices of the peace appointed constables to enforce the law. They appointed a sheriff to collect taxes, and they appointed wardens to care for the poor. The justices also appointed a surveyor to mark land boundaries and a register of deeds to keep property records. Establishing land boundaries and maintaining records of property were very important to the farmers and planters who settled the colony...

There were 35 counties in North Carolina when the state declared its independence from Great Britain in 1776. After independence North Carolina state government continued to use counties to organize local citizens and provide basic government throughout the state. The General Assembly also continued to create new counties to bring government closer to the people. By 1800 there were 65 counties and by 1900 there were 97. In the twentieth century, only three additional counties were created. The last one was created in 1912, bringing the total to 100.

An interesting little tidbit was that the University of North Carolina was originally to be located in Carthage, the Moore County Seat, but due to the railroad experiencing trouble climbing the hill...it was built in Chapel Hill. Go figure. One item that I take away from this is that the County is a creature of the State. This from the State Library of North Carolina,

A county, according to the court, is a "body politic and corporate." A body politic is a civil division of the state for purposes of governmental administration. A body corporate is a legal entity. In private law, a corporation is a legal person. A county is a legal entity or corporation of a special sort and with a public function. As such, it can buy and hold property, sue and be sued, and enter into contracts - all functions necessary to make its work as a body politic effective.

Two representatives of the County Attorney's Office gave us a power point presentation on the services they provide. Legal services through this office are provided to the "Core Government" like the County Commissioners, Animal Control and Veterans Services among the many. They also provide legal council to County Child Support Agencies and the Department of Social Services. They were adamant about "Who and What They Don't Represent"; the citizens of Moore County and County employees in private matters. Although they understand the confusion, they are not the District Attorney's office.



The Administrative and Personnel staff that gave us the same presentation given to all new County employees wrapped up the first class. All aspects from work-place-safety to workers compensation were discussed. A very energetic and informative Deanne Purvis ended the class with a straightforward talk on personnel policy.

The objective of this course is, "Developing Grassroots Community Awareness.ONE CITIZEN AT A TIME", they're doing a great job!





Comments

Excellent report, Mo

I think it's wonderful they are offering this class and even more wonderful that it is free.

Were the folks attending interested for political reasons/aspirations?

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

None of them said so in their self-introduction

but on the application form, they ask if you "want" to serve on the County Board of Commissioners...not, "Are you interested?" but "want" so maybe they hope they can groom some who would be their bosses some day. It's really a good idea, because you see your government through the eyes of those who actually make it work day by day.

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

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What these people are doing for Moore County citizens

is commendable. They are pleasant, informative and excited to share and teach. This is what all counties should be doing! (Thanks SD for posting this for me.)

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

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Awesome!!!

I wish we had something like that in Orange County...although we do have an unofficial classroom.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

It would be interesting Robert

to see how many counties offer something like this. If you follow the links to the agenda, you'll see we are covering every aspect of county government.

Who wouldn't want a closer understanding of how their government works? And what county employee wouldn't jump at the chance to tell anyone who will listen about the scope of their job? This is an Awesome class!

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

Chapel Hill would need to

Chapel Hill would need to add the following seminars:

1. How the Council comes up with pointless resolutions completely unrelated to Town business.

2. How to take some of these resolutions and put some kind of spin on them to make them seem remotely Town-related.

Woman, you are doing it!

I love watching all this . . . you taking over the world, one class at a time! This is a fantastic program and I am happy to see you smack-dab in the middle of it. We'll all learn a lot from this.

Good work! And very nice report. Thank you.

Thank you A

this little community we hold so dear is my jumping off point. Seems I remember you pushing me once when I said I would "try" and you scolded me and said, "just do it!" Haven't looked back since.

Next semester at Sandhills Community College, they offer a class on "How to serve on a board", I'm signing up for that too! Yay.

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

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Oh good!

That's a great class, and you should take it. The non-profits around here need a Momoaizo to serve on their board, simply because she has the sense to stand up and say: "I'm sorry - what you're saying makes no sense to me at all. Please tell me what I'm missing.

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

That's the best oversight there is

simply require that folks explain themselves instead of glossing over things.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

Sorry what you're looking for isn't here

that was the message I got when I followed you link loftT (cool name btw). Would love to watch the vid, would you try again?

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

Let me try

hope you don't mind....Richard Dreyfus' Civic Lessons

OK now that I've found them, I'm going to watch.

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

GOOD!

Very good start. This is the kind of coversation that all of America should be having. Something that I have been trying to push at my blog. If you want a better government, you must understand how it works and then you'll understand how to fix what doesn't work. Thanks for bringing that loftT, it was exactly that.

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

If I may...

to make a link, first you type the word(s) you want to use as a link. Then go to the website copy the URL address, come back here and paste in front of the word(s). In front of the http, put (a href=" here's the link") then after the word(s) put (/a). Now replace all the parenthesis ( ) with . Hope that helps, also Stan sent me a link to help, but I lost it. Stan, if you would, please send me that link again, and to loftT also. Oh and while I'm at it, someone brought a link to a great place that summarized the daily bills/debates/etc. in DC. I've also lost that.

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions