The original RRDA was made up of the five county commissioners. In September, the final two commissioners came off the board to make way for the all-resident board.
During the RRDA’s second meeting as an all-resident board Tuesday, the new members said finding out who was to blame for the failed deal wasn’t their place.
“It was my understanding when I accepted this position that I had made it extremely clear that I had no interest in going backwards,” said new RRDA member Troy Welker. “I, as a board member, do not have the time — nor the inclination or the desire — to go back and do investigative research into what occurred.”
Instead, Welker and his fellow board members were more interested in moving forward and trying to find a way to unload the former recycling facility on Highway 5, which has been costing Cherokee County taxpayers $100,000 a month, since Bobo filed for bankruptcy in 2012.
New RRDA Chairman Jeff Duncan agreed with Welker on Tuesday that going back to “pretend we’re investigators” isn’t the purpose of the new all-resident board.
“That’s not what we’ve been charged to do. That’s not what we came on board to do,” Duncan said. “And frankly, it’s not what we have the expertise or time to do.”
Welker said the emails flooding into his inbox, “to the point that I can’t get work done,” have mostly been in reference to the forensic audit, which was recently completed on the 2006 deal between Bobo and the RRDA to relocate his operation.
Blue Ridge Judicial Circuit District Attorney Shannon Wallace has said she is in the process of reviewing the audit to determine if criminal charges will result, but she has declined to show it to anyone outside of her office for fear of comprising the investigation.
Board member John Konop, who joined the RRDA in September, said the audit can be used by the RRDA to ensure the same mistakes aren’t made in any future deals.
“But that would be the only reason that we should be using it,” Konop said. “It shouldn’t be on a witch hunt.”
Board member Tom Ware said the emails he’s received seem to be asking him to “jump on the blame bandwagon.”
“And I’m not going to do it,” he said.
To solve the issue of the flood of emails, the board discussed writing up a blanket response to inform the people sending the emails — who were not named in the discussion — the role of the RRDA was now simply to try to find a new operator for the facility and maintain it until then.
County officials have said at any given time, there are one or two potential operators considering the facility.
The RRDA discussed latest developments in finding a new operator for the facility Tuesday, although no real details were given. County Manager Jerry Cooper indicated to the RRDA potential operators have toured the property recently. But to tell the members about the specifics, Cooper said they would have to go into a closed, executive session.
“Some of these companies do not want their information subject to disclosure until such time as is appropriate,” Cooper said during the meeting. “At some point in time, it’ll all be disclosed.”
The board later voted to enter an executive session.