Six people — Democrat Ernie Wright and Republicans Jack Bright and Paul Buchanan, both incumbents, along with Royce Bennett, Robin Knapp and Mark Price — are running for the five seats on the Onslow County Board of Commissioners. The Daily News sent the candidates questions about issues affecting Onslow County. These are their answers to the first of those questions.
Q: Onslow County recently eliminated its legal department and instead contracted legal services from a law firm out of Fayetteville. Where do you stand on legal counsel for Onslow County? Do you favor an in-house department or an outside firm working under contract?
BENNETT: I believe that we should contract with a qualified local attorney for legal services.
BRIGHT: I support having an outside local contract attorney that lives here, has a business office here, pays taxes here, shops here. I’m a strong supporter of local small business, an a local law firm is indeed a small business. Do you favor an in-house department or an outside firm working under contract? Outside firm under contract.
BUCHANAN: I support an outside firm working under contract because it is less expensive to the taxpayer.
KNAPP: I definitely believe in keeping legal counsel within Onslow County. I feel we have outstanding attorneys that practice within our own county and who are from here. These attorneys will better understand our issues and policies since they are citizens as well and reside here. My concern with contracting outside of our county with law firms that have no real “home” feelings for our county could possibly price gouge their rate to benefit themselves with no consideration of the cost impact to the citizens of our county.
PRICE: The in-house option used in the past was too expensive and didn’t address all the legal needs of the county. I would favor contracting with a local law firm, which could deal with all the legal issues the county may face.
WRIGHT: I believe we need to contract with local law firms or individuals within Onslow County. We have the talent needed and it will prove less expensive ($650,000) in the long run.
Tuesday’s Daily News will feature the commissioner candidate responses to this question: What is your stance on expanding the Board of Commissioners from 5 to 7 members?