Even though his term on the Interlocal Solid Waste Authority (ISWA) wasn’t to expire until January of 2021, Lincoln County Commissioner Doug Cunningham announced in the commission’s August session that he has decided to step down.

The announcement came after County Mayor Bill Newman brought a resolution establishing the term limits of the county’s representatives on the ISWA forward, saying he had messed up earlier this year when he incorrectly stated which terms were held by Cunningham and his fellow ISWA member A.J. Williams – “I apologize for that,” he said.

“Fellow commissioners, the resolution that you have here tonight regarding the terms did come from the ISWA,” Cunningham said. “It basically says that my existing term goes through January of 2021 and that the term currently held by A.J. Williams should be good through July of 2020. This is the same information that I provided to you in March of this year.

“The county had contended that both terms were up in January of this year, and that information was incorrect. The county’s records have been off or messed up since the mid ‘90s.

“But I have decided to step down from my position on the ISWA board, and the reason that I’m doing this is because of the attacks that the ISWA has received from Mayor Newman and his friends,” Cunningham continued. “The mayor stood right here in March and said that there was absolutely no transparency whatsoever coming from the ISWA, and the attacks have continued since then.

“You know, I’m kind of used to that,” he said. “I’ve been a commissioner since 1994, and they’ve been attacking me since 1995 as I recall. However, my friends on the ISWA are not used to that kind of stuff. They’re public works officials, they’re solid waste managers – they’re not political types.”

Saying his term was going to last a little more than another year anyway, Cunningham said, adding that he hopes whoever serves on the board realizes the amount of communication that is required in order to keep Lincoln County’s governing body as well as Fayetteville’s governing body up to date on ISWA activities.

“These individuals have got to communicate in advance when we’ve got closures at the transfer station, and there’s going to be several of those coming up with some of the work that’s got to be done to the transfer station,” he said, adding that work will impact convenience center operations. “So that’s something we need to know about weeks in advance.

“...During the last ISWA contract negotiations, we really thought that Fayetteville and Lincoln County was going to be out on our own trying to find a place to take our garbage,” he continued. “Negotiations had broken down with Republic ... so Mr. [Cole] Bradford and I spent quite a bit of time trying to find an alternative place to take our garbage.

“It’s this transparency that we did show over the years that made the comments in March about the ISWA so concerning,” Cunningham added.

The commission approved the resolution establishing the adjusted term limits and then went on to remove the table the appointments tabled in March. With that, the commission reappointed Williams to his position on the ISWA, term to expire Jan. 31, 2021, and then appoint Pat Haynes to the ISWA, term to expire July 31, 2020.

“I would like to say thank you to Mr. Doug Cunningham for the many years he has served on the Interlocal Solid Waste Authority,” said Commissioner Jack Atchley. “I appreciate his hard work over the years.”

Cunningham had served on the ISWA for 13 years.

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