August 28 Triangle J Council of Governments Meeting

On August 28 I attended, along with Morrisville Councilwoman Broadwell, the Board of Delegates Meeting for the Triangle J Council of Governments–one of the 17 regional North Carolina Councils of Governments (Region J) established by the North Carolina General Assembly for the purpose of regional planning and administration.  Delegates are encouraged to share this report with their elected colleagues.TriangleJ

Recognition of  Immediate Past Chairman Jeffrey Carver

Chairwoman Pamela Baldwin recognized Johnston County Commissioner Jeff Carver for his service as Chairman of the Board of Delegates over the past year. Ms. Baldwin presented Mr. Carver with a plaque and a gift, extending sincere appreciation on behalf of the Board of Delegates and the entire organization.

Presentation about GlaxoSmithKline – newly approved FTZ Site 6


Renee Boyette, Administrator of TJCOG’s Foreign Trade Zone #93, introduced Mike Webster of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), who presented information about GSK and their Zebulon facility. Ms. Boyette explained that GSK is the newest user of FTZ #93; their application for usage-driven site designation was approved on August 7, 2013, by the US FTZ Board, designating the GSK Zebulon facility as FTZ #93’s Site 6. GSK is expected to also request production authority for this location.


Consideration of TJCOG FY 2014 employee performance increase


Executive Director Kirby Bowers presented his recommendation for the FY 2014 performance increase for eligible TJCOG employees. Mr. Bowers stated that

the budget included a 3% performance increase and no general COLA, but this was pending until a review of member jurisdiction action on employee compensation had been conducted. This has now been done and he noted that TJCOG members had taken a variety of approaches, but that it appeared the average was somewhere between 2.5% and 3%. Considering this, Mr. Bowers recommended a 2.75% FY 2014 performance increase to reflect the “regional average,” and that the increase be retroactive to the first pay period in FY 2014 (July 7, 2013).


ACTION: The Board of Delegates unanimously approved a 2.75% performance increase for eligible TJCOG employees for FY 2014, retroactive to the first pay period in FY 2014 (July 7, 2013). 


Update on FTZ #93 activities and consideration of revised FTZ #93 Zone Schedule 


Renee Boyette, Administrator of Foreign Trade Zone #93, announced that the Rates, Tariff and Legal Review Board met earlier in the day and that actions taken included the endorsement of the GlaxoSmithKline Zebulon usage-driven site. The FTZ #93 board also considered and recommended approval of a revision to the FTZ #93 Zone Schedule to meet new guidelines and the format required by the USFTZ Board. The Zone Schedule (previously called the Tariff) includes the internal rules and regulations of the zone, as well as a statement of the rates and fees charged to zone users. The schedule recommended by the FTZ #93 board made one change – the due date for fees. Currently, users pay annually at the end of the calendar year. The FTZ #93 board recommended that the payment schedule be changed to a fiscal year basis, to coincide with the fiscal year of TJCOG. A phased-in payment schedule was recommended, to bring the schedule in sync with the TJCOG fiscal year by the end of FY 2015.


ACTION: The Board of Delegates unanimously approved the revised Fee Schedule for Foreign Trade Zone #93, as recommended by the FTZ #93 Rates, Tariff and Legal Review Board.


Examining the role of members and the value of TJCOG membership :   a facilitated discussion

Kirby Bowers introduced this topic, noting that it has become the tradition for the Board of Delegates to  engage in a facilitated discussion at their first meeting of the new fiscal year. In prior years, the discussion has related to issues and priorities for the multi-year Work Plan. This year, the topic wold shift to a broader discussion on the role TJCOG member governments play in the organization and how participation can increase the value they realize from their membership.


Public Relations / Member Services Specialist Marla Dorrel provided background for the discussion, noting two different roles that members can take: Consumer or Participant. While Consumer members tend to view TJCOG more as a provider of technical consulting services, from which they can pick and choose, Participant members take more of a partner role, actively engaging their elected officials and staff in TJCOG programs and meetings, encouraging others to participate and exercising their voice in shaping the organization and the region.  Ms. Dorrel explained that the discussions would take place in small groups and that groups would be asked to address three questions:

  1. What might hinder a local government from being a full Participant in TJCOG?
  2. What can TJCOG do to help its members overcome those obstacles and become more active as Participants?
  3. What can TJCOG delegates do to help their own local government and other members become more active in TJCOG?

Discussions were facilitated by TJCOG staffers Brennan Bouma, Mike Schlegel, Joan Pellettier, Bergen Watterson and Lacey Wolfe. After the discussions, members of each group reported on key points from their discussions.


TJCOG staff will compile the results and use them to determine what steps can be taken to increase member participation. A report and recommendations will be made available at a later date.

The best part of the evening is when we have each delegate provide an overview of what is going on in the region.

Margaret and I provided the update on Martha Wheelock, joining as Town Manager, the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Transportation Funding, AAA Bond rating, the work I am doing in the tech and entrepreneurship areas,  Transportation Updates, and we definitely had much to report on!

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