06/07/14 — City budget includes military liasion position

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City budget includes military liasion position

By Matt Caulder
Published in News on June 7, 2014 10:34 PM

The Goldsboro City Manager has recommended a new military liaison position to serve as an intermediary between the city and its military lobbying interests.

The position, proposed in the first draft of the 2014-15 budget, would serve as a link between the city and the two firms lobbying on behalf of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Raleigh and Washington.

The 30-hour per week job would pay nearly $54,000 a year.

City Manager Scott Stevens said the city would seek out a retired military officer for the position.

Currently, former Military Affairs Committee Chairman Jimmie Edmundson serves as the city's liaison to the lobbyists as part of a joint effort funded by Goldsboro and Wayne County.

Edmundson is paid $25,000 annually, a salary funded using current allocations to the Friends of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, the reincarnation of the Seymour Support Council -- the city and county each reimburse the group $1,042 a month for Edmundson's salary, the cost of the lobbying services and other operational costs.

Stevens, however, said that the new position would not go to Edmundson.

"It's nothing against Jimmy," he said. "What we have with Jimmy is a community business person and that's good, but we think a retired military officer will be more suited to the job."

Stevens said that he is not yet sure if the position would be funded by both the city and county, but noted he would prefer it that way.

Either way, Stevens does not expect to fund Edmundson's position should the City Council approve the post he included in the budget.

"My intent would not be to have both funded," he said.

County Manager George Wood said that he is aware of the city's possible plan to hire a different liaison -- that he expects the city and county to continue to work together on lobbying efforts for the base.

"Whatever we do on that, we'll be doing together," he said.

But as far as the county paying half of the expected $54,000 salary, Wood said that decision has yet to be made.

"We'll decide that when we decide if we're gonna do it or not," he said.

Edmundson is aware of the plan to hire a new military liaison, a plan he said he supports.

"I'll do it as long as they need me to do it, but I have other things I can do too," he said.

He said the job took more time than he was counting on and he can spend the extra time with his grandchildren if he were to be replaced.