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Davison resigns as Albemarle Commission director

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Cathy Davison

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By Peter Williams
The Perquimans Weekly

Thursday, October 4, 2018

HERTFORD — The executive director of the Albemarle Commission has resigned, advising the 10-county agency’s Board of Delegates that she plans to leave early next month.

A press release from the Albemarle Commission said Cathy Davison’s resignation Tuesday takes effect on Nov. 2. The release said Davison’s resignation was voluntary and not requested by the Board of Delegates. Davison’s contract with the commission required her to provide 30 days notice to the board if she intends to leave.   

“I am sorry to see Ms. Davison leaving the Albemarle Commission,” Board of Delegates Chairwoman Marion Gilbert said. “On behalf of the board, I wish Ms. Davison the best of luck in all of her future endeavors.”

Gilbert, a county commissioner in Currituck, declined Wednesday to discuss Davison’s resignation or employment with the commission further, citing privacy restrictions in state personnel laws. 

Reached Thursday, Davison declined to discuss her reasons for resigning.

Davison came under fire earlier this year over a conflict of interest that involved the commission’s award of a $22,000 contract to her husband’s company, NENC Project Solutions. At the time, Davison was recommending the commission seek a new facility, and NENC Project Solutions was hired to provide construction management services for the project. 

Davison disclosed to the Board of Delegates at the time that her husband, Jim Davison, worked for NENC Project Solutions, and the board allowed her to hire the firm.

Davison later claimed she didn't learn that her husband owned NENC Project Solutions until after the contract was awarded. She said she didn't think his ownership of the firm posed a problem, however, because she had reported it to the commission’s auditor, and the firm did not raise any objection. She did not report her husband’s ownership of NENC to the Board of Delegates, she said, because “there was no reason to.”

Davison said she was not aware at the time of a state law, General Statute 14-234, that prohibits public employees from deriving a “direct benefit” from a contract with a public agency. The law specifically notes that spouses of the employee also can’t benefit from a public contract.

After learning of the law, Davison repaid the commission $11,000 — half the amount of the original contract. The other half was never paid to NENC Project Solutions because the Board of Delegates decided not to pursue a new building for the commission. 

Davison was hired as the commission’s executive director in September 2014. At the time of her resignation, her annual salary was $98,000. In addition to her duties as the commission’s chief executive officer, she also serves as its economic development director. The commission employs 26 employees, mostly in Hertford.

The Albemarle Commission administers the Northeastern Workforce Development Board in Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Dare, Gates, Hyde, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Tyrrell and Washington counties. It also manages the Area Agency on Aging and Senior Nutrition program, the Albemarle Rural Planning Organization, and the federal Economic Development District.

The board expects to discuss appointing an interim director at its next meeting.  

Daily Advance Staff Writer Jon Hawley contributed to this report.

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