LUMBERTON — Ronnie Hunt, the longtime chairman of the COMtech Board of Directors, has resigned his position to seek election to the board for the Lumbee River Electric Membership Corporation.
He believes remaining on the COMtech board would be a conflict since LREMC is building its new headquarters at the park.
“I’ve served on the COMtech Board of Directors since its inception in the 90s,” Hunt, who is a former Lumbee River EMC president and CEO, said in his resignation letter to Alan Fowlkes, COMtech’s executive director, and the COMtech board. “I believe in the concept and greatness it can bring to Robeson County and especially the opportunities it will bring to our young people. We’ve come a long way in meeting the goals for the growth of the business park and there still remains room for future growth.”
Hunt told The Robesonian on Friday that he feels it would not be “ethical” for him to be chairman of the COMtech Board of Directors since Lumbee River EMC is now in the process of moving its current headquarters in Red Springs to COMtech. He said he does not think the move, which is requiring the construction of a multi-million dollar state-of-the art complex along N.C. 711 just outside of Pembroke, is in the best interest of the co-op’s members.
“As chairman of the COMtech board I am supposed to be enthusiastic about someone coming to COMtech park,” said Hunt. “I don’t think it would be ethical for me to bash someone that is coming to the park and still be chairman of the board.”
Hunt said that he especially opposes the company’s decision to pay $25 million to $30 million to relocate the headquarters to property located only 15 minutes away from the current headquarters in Red Springs. He said he questions if the co-op membership supports spending so much money for such an elaborate facility that will only increase response to customer needs in Robeson County’s southern region by about 15 minutes.
“Where was the members’ input into this decision? They had none,” Hunt said. “…What most members want is a building in which to do business, not a Taj Mahal.”
Lumbee River EMC members will have the chance to elect their board of directors on Oct. 12. This year there are 12 candidates vying for six seats on the 13-member board. Each elected member will serve a three-year term.
Bob Shiles can be reached at 910-416-5165.