Waccamaw EOC discusses goals

Board members of the Waccamaw Economic Opportunity Council discussed their strategic goals before the press arrived at their retreat on Friday.

"We switched the agenda just a little bit," Sharon Boyd, the agency's human resources director, said as she began the review of her department and its duties to conclude the day.

David Eagleton, the board's first vice chairman, said after the daylong meetings ended that the board spent about two hours earlier in strategic planning and drew up a rough list of goals.

He couldn't recall any of the specific things on the list, but said they will be tweaked at today's session and formally adopted by the board, hopefully at its next regular meeting.

Eagleton said the goals are for both the agency and the board. He said the board continuously looks for new directions it can expand the agency's programs.

The EOC distributes about $15 million a year in federal money for things such as Head Start, weatherization and utility, rent and mortgage assistance to low-income residents of Horry, Georgetown and Williamsburg counties.

"We're always interested in new programs," Eagleton said, "but we have to hire an executive director first."

The board voted at a recent meeting to offer the job to Columbus Stephens, community services block grant director for the Gleamns Human Resources Commission in Greenwood. Gleamns, like the Waccamaw EOC, is one of 14 community action agencies in South Carolina.

The executive director's job has been open since board members voted last year to fire Beth Fryar, its former executive director, while she was on family medical leave. The board fired Fryar twice after not following its bylaws in the first firing and rescinding it.

Federal law says it is illegal to fire an employee who is out of work on family medical leave. Fryar has hired an attorney.

Eagleton said he's not sure of the status of the process for hiring Stephens.

He said the economy plays a big part in the goals the board normally establishes for each year.

"We always try to set at least five," Eagleton said.

He said he feels the board's retreat at Litchfield Beach and Golf Resort, which is scheduled to conclude at noon today, has been successful.

"Anytime you get together and voice your opinion on things," he said, "it's helpful."