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Security concerns prompt move of EDP office

Tom Joyce Staff Reporter

September 29, 2013

DOBSON — Security concerns at the Surry County Government Center have led to a decision to relocate the local economic-development office from Mount Airy to Dobson, according to a county official.


The move was prompted by concerns of County Manager Chris Knopf in the wake of multiple incidents on the third floor of the center, where his office is located.


“It’s nothing serious, but we have had a couple of incidents that have made him nervous,” explained Larry Phillips, a member of the Surry County Board of Commissioners. “It’s not a big security thing.”


This led to a plan for shifting facilities in the government center, which indirectly affected the Surry County Economic Development Partnership (EDP) due to its space in a downstairs portion of the building being designated for another office as a result.


“It’s just a redesign of the third floor,” Phillips added.


“Chris has laid out a different layout for the third floor,” he said. “He’s just moving things around.”


Under the new arrangement that Phillips said is in the process of being finalized, someone venturing onto that floor won’t be able to freely access either the county manager’s or finance officer’s work areas as they have been. Instead, they first will encounter Knopf’s secretary, whose move to the upper end of the hall effectively will require visitors to pass through a security checkpoint before proceeding.


“Her (the secretary’s) office will basically be where the wellness office is now,” Phillips said Thursday, “and wellness will go downstairs to where the EDP is now.”


The new home of the Economic Development Partnership, the county’s chief industrial-recruitment entity, is the Surry County Human Services Center on State Street in Mount Airy.


“Most of their time is spent over here (in Mount Airy),” Phillips of the EDP staff headed by President Todd Tucker.


Traditionally, EDP personnel have been based in Dobson, a central location of the county, but the move is not expected to cause problems in that regard.


‘They did touch base with Elkin to make sure it was OK with them,” Phillips said of the municipality situated at the southwest corner of Surry. “Todd said everybody was on board with it.”


Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or tjoyce@civitasmedia.com.