The outgoing majority on the Lee County Board of Commissioners appears set to make a lame duck appointment Monday that will allow controversial Commissioner Jim Womack to keep his hands on at least one of the levers of local power.
Womack, who decided not to seek re-election this year and whose term expires after Monday’s board meeting, applied for a seat on the Sanford-Lee County Partnership for Prosperty, documents show. That organization is the successor to the old Lee County Economic Development Corporation and will consider opportunities for economic development, including the recruitment of new businesses to the area with tax incentives – which Womack has positioned himself against. The body is made up of local business and government leaders.
According to the agenda for Monday’s meeting, the board will appoint three members to the SLCPP – including “a business executive who resides in Lee County” and “a retired business person currently residing in Lee County.” Additionally, the agenda states “The Chairman of the Board of Commissioners will also appoint one sitting County Commissioner to the Board.”
Attachments to the meeting agenda show Womack is the only sitting county commissioner who applied for the seat. Womack lists fellow Republican commissioners Charlie Parks, Kirk Smith, and Andre Knecht as personal references. He says in the application that he wants “to help bring economic recovery and prosperity to Lee County through diverse expansion of our industrial base, expanded apprenticeship programs and growth in new energy opportunities.”
Along with Womack, board Chairman Parks is also going off the board after Monday’s meeting. He did not seek re-election. In this month’s elections, Democrats took control of the board, making it unlikely that Womack would win the appointment of the new majority which will be seated in December. By that time, Womack would no longer be a sitting commissioner.