Republican County Commissioner Candidate: Benita Finney
Published 2:14 pm Thursday, April 28, 2022
The following is information on one of five candidates for Davie County Board of Commissioners. Voters will elected two. Early voting started April 28 and the primary election will be May 17.
Davie County High School; Forsyth Technical College
Eaton Funeral Service, administrative assistant
In the Community
• Fork Baptist Church
• Just HOPE board
• CCRT/SART board
• JCPC board
• DCRW member
Why did you decide to seek public office?
Finney: I chose to run for Davie County Commissioner because I love Davie County and Davie County people. I have spent my adult days in Davie County trying to make our county a great place to live and I felt that becoming a commissioner would allow me to continue on that journey. I noticed that some areas of our county did not have a voice in county government and many citizens who cannot advocate for themselves needed to be heard. I have learned so much during my first few years on the board and I hope to continue to be a voice for all Davie County citizens. I believe that local government is more than just numbers and meetings. Local leaders need to lead with common sense and compassion as well. I hope that my passion is demonstrated and my desire to make the right decisions is recognized through my leadership. I try to remain involved in the community and be accessible to our citizens. We are blessed to call Davie County home and I am grateful for the opportunity to serve.
What do you think are the most significant challenges facing the county, and how do you intend to address those challenges?
Finney: Growth is a huge challenge to our county at the present time. Because this is such a great place to live, we have a lot of new citizens choosing to call Davie County home. Along with this growth must come careful planning to accommodate the growing population. We must be proactive in planning for utility improvements, schools, emergency services and working with NCDOT on roadway advancements and more. We have developed an ever-changing plan, but it is imperative that we ensure that services are provided for our citizens. With the increase in industry comes a demand for work force and the aftermath of COVID has increased the number of help wanted signs in our county.
The housing market in Davie County is booming, but I would like to see us maintain a lot size that will support comfortable living. There are already areas of the county that are enduring high traffic volumes at certain times of the day and demonstrating the changes. The increase in homes also brings up a question of county ordinance changes. We have always valued the freedom that our rural communities have supplied, but in our more populated areas, I believe it is time to discuss possible noise ordinance adjustments and other subjects that would enhance the quality of life in more congested neighborhoods. Also, with the increased growth comes an increase of emergency service situations. Nationwide, there is a shortage of emergency service personnel, and we need to ensure that we continue to provide the outstanding service that our citizens are accustomed to by adjusting pay rates and support to our emergency service providers. We cannot allow the new growth to cause us to lose sight of those citizens that are already here and in need of services. We know that senior citizens are our fastest growing population group, and we must continue to supply their needs. And we must stop allowing the new growth to take priority over the smaller areas of the county.
I believe the most efficient way to address our issues is communication. We need to have productive communication with our service providers and our citizens. As a board, we need to listen to a larger variety of voices and seek to make fair, educated decisions. I do not want to see our county change into an unrecognizable place. I would like to see everyone work together to maintain what makes us great. As the world around us becomes harsh and undesirable, we must all work together to maintain what we have here. The issues cannot be addressed by just a governing board, they must be addressed by everyone and that entails that we must be open to listen.
What are the top qualities that should be considered for a county manager? What salary range should Davie County pay its manager?
Finney: Davie County may be small, but we are a complex place to govern. There are many dynamics and as mentioned, lots of growth, but still a lot of tradition existing here. Therefore, the first quality that I feel is important is for a manager to get to know the county, the whole county. Not just those who demand to be noticed, but those that must be sought after as well. There are a lot of dedicated, busy people in Davie County who quietly go unnoticed, but who are providing huge services. We need a manager who will acknowledge the needs of our smallest town, Cooleemee, and who will notice the beauty of the William R. Davie and Farmington areas along with the charm of the town of Mocksville and the growth of Bermuda Run. Our county has so many varieties of area, and each of them is just as important as the other.
Even though we hope to hire an experienced manager, it is important for a manager to come here to enhance what we already have established, not change everything to resemble the area from which they come. We are not a large county and I feel that some of the changes that have been made in the past to match what “everyone else” is doing across the state, have been detrimental to our particular environment. We are unique and I do not wish to follow in others’ footsteps. Some changes have drowned representation and have caused situations that are unproductive.
I especially think an important quality in a manger is for them to recognize that there are five commissioners elected in Davie County and all five of us should be addressed/informed equally regardless of titles. I also believe that a manager should communicate major issues through commissioners before execution, especially on issues that vastly affect the lives of our citizens. Even though the county manager style of government was adopted, I believe that a manager should consult and advise commissioners regarding major decisions and provide regular updates on county matters.
I realize that “chain of command” is the design of most governments, but I would like to see a county manager break through that chain and ensure that our employees are content and recognized and to ensure that we have an open-door policy for all employees. In a time when quality employees are difficult to hold on to, I feel that we should go the extra mile to make our employees feel appreciated and heard.
As far as salary, we are being told that we will need to increase our advertised salary in attempt to recruit a quality manager. It was actually quite surprising to learn of the salaries of managers in surrounding counties and even though it is difficult to accept that we will need to offer a more substantial pay, we also have to realize that we need to be competitive in order to attract a quality manager.
Finney: I imagine everyone knows by now, that one of my passions is volunteer fire departments and the rescue squad. We are so very blessed to have been served for so many years by volunteers who have saved us thousands of dollars each year. As society strays away from volunteerism, our fire departments are struggling for members. I am proud of the fact that just last year, we finally increased the funding that our departments receive, but we still have a long way to go. These men and women dedicate their lives to protect us and many of our volunteers are highly trained in their field. They spend countless hours training to protect us in our time of need. When they arrive at an emergency, they know what to do. We must continue to assist these departments with expenses and capital needs. We are also blessed with a fabulous EMS system here in Davie County and many of the employees of DCEMS also volunteer with our fire departments and/or rescue squad.
I am also passionate about children, struggling adults and the elderly. My son was both homeschooled and attended Davie County schools, graduating from the Early College. Both experiences were the correct choices at the time, and I believe in parents’ choice. He is currently attending Catawba College majoring in elementary and special ed and hopes to teach in Davie County upon graduation, which makes this Davie County graduate proud. The Early College was a true blessing to our family.
We need to acknowledge the growing number of struggling adults in our county and provide them with the support they need to imporve their situations. I am very proud of the organizations and individuals here in the county that are already doing their part to assist these people and improve their lives. We have citizens struggling financially in recovery, and have families seeking quality of life for their intellectually challenged family members and we need to assist them in realizing their goals.
Our citizens should enjoy land rights, but not infringement from their neighbors. We should feed those who are hungry, advocate for the voiceless, be slow to criticize those who do a job that we would never do, and never be too busy to lend a helping hand. We are blessed to live in a county that still reaches out to our neighbors in their time of need or devastation.
Many organizations and businesses in Davie County were built by people who identified a need and worked to provide, and I hope to see that continue. Small businesses are essential in Davie County. I am so thankful for a new generation of small businesses that we are beginning to see established around the county. It is exciting to watch them grow and to see them giving back to their community in so many ways. We need to encourage and assist them. Please support them as often as possible. We are also fortunate to still have our own newspaper, as many have disappeared.
Governing should not be all about numbers and rules, it should also come from the heart. I may not always be able to accomplish everything that I set out to do, but I will continue to try. I certainly still have much to learn, as each day is a new lessons, but I am a willing pupil. I will continue to strive to represent each and every person in the county and will continue to not be afraid to vote “no”, even alone. I am not a politician, but I am a person who loves and believes in Davie County and every citizen who calls it home. I have been blessed to have been raised here and to have raised my son here. Our people are marvelous, and I am so thankful for the support and prayers that I have received over the years. There is no greater blessing than to live in a community where people randomly let you know that they are praying for you, even when they do not know why, but just because God laid you on their heart. I certainly covet those prayers and hope to continue to serve you as a Davie County Commissioner and I encourage you to become involved in the community and local government and let your voice be heard.