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      Waccamaw EOC addresses unresolved issues in special meeting

      Waccamaw EOC board special meeting in Georgetown. / Lisa Edge

      Waccawmaw Economic Opportunity Council's board held a special meeting Wednesday night to address the pay rate for its Executive Director and the Choppee Head Start center.

      James Pasley, Jr. has served as executive director since April 4 of this year. The board finally agreed upon a salary of $114,000 retroactive to his start date. At the board's next regularly scheduled meeting later this month, Pasley's salary will increase to $120,000. Pasley says his salary is based on comparables in the area.

      The board also voted to move forward on a project that would place a Head Start center in the Choppee community in Georgetown County. Pasley says the group held a groundbreaking last year, but for financial reasons construction was halted. Wednesday's vote puts the project back on track.

      "In order to restart the project, it was necessary for the board to reaffirm its committment to the project, and they tried to secure additional funding necessary to support the project conclusion," says Pasley.

      In addition to resolving outstanding issues the board also adopted a whistleblower policy.

      In the past, the Waccamaw EOC has come under fire. Director of the Office of Economic Oppportunity Ken McManus, the state agency that oversees the group, was present at the special meeting. There was a chance the council could be put back on a high risk status.

      "That is yet to be determined, but I think some of the issues that they were concerned about have been addressed tonight so that should move us further away from the abyss if you will," says Pasley.

      He goes on to say one of his goals in heading up the group is to establish stability, create a sound reputation, and continue to provide high quality services.

      The Waccamaw EOC serves Williamsburg, Georgetown and Horry counties. They provide financial assistance to people who have trouble paying utility bills or rent.