By Mike Linn
Board members of the Roosevelt County United Way voted on Thursday to pursue a joint venture with United Way’s Clovis branch, but not without the dissent of a longtime member.
Sharon King, who had been a member of the RCUW for eight years, resigned from the board effective immediately after members voted 8-2 to pursue a merger with the Curry County United Way.
The merger has been lauded by many as a step forward; some, however, don’t feel the merger is necessary.
Board member Leo Lovett believes the merger will benefit agencies in Roosevelt County.
“Through much discussion the board has come to the conclusion that the merger represents the best use of administrative resources between two counties,” Lovett wrote in a press release.
Erinn Burch, executive director of the CCUW, said many members in both counties are nervous about the details of the merger, which haven’t been ironed out, but the overall sentiment is positive.
“I’m excited they want to go ahead with negotiations,” Burch said. “I’m looking forward to working with them.”
Burch said the two boards will merge within the next six to eight months, but certain changes may take longer.
The name change probably won’t happen for a few years, as would a combined campaign for both counties, Burch said.
“We’re still in the negotiation stage and we’re trying to figure out what will be the best time frame for all these changes,” Burch said.
RCUW President Rusty Galloway, who was appointed to the position on Thursday, said King and Everett Frost voted against the merger.
King could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday evening, but said Wednesday she thought the merger was a “drastic” measure.
She said she thought RCUW members needed to exhaust other options for raising funds before seeking a merger with another county.
Lovett said King resigned because she wanted the board to be behind the merger 100 percent.
“I understand her position of wanting the board unified with this new step that we’re taking,” Lovett said.
Frost declined comment on the meeting, but Galloway said Frost voted no because he felt the details of the vote were vague.
United Way is a non-profit organization that helps fund the Boy Scouts, Habitat for Humanity and the Community Services Center among other local agencies.
The RCUW also elected board members to positions: Galloway will serve as president; Helen Carroll will serve as vice president; Frost will serve as treasurer; and Jackie Burns as secretary.