NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – The two newest members of New Hanover County's Board of Commissioners are also its newest leaders. A full, five-member board approved the appointments of Woody White to Chairman and Beth Dawson as Vice-Chair.
Dawson nominated White, and he nominated her. Dawson said afterwards that the two new leaders are far from inexperienced.
"We've both been active on public trust boards for many, many years," she said.
The new appointments have former Chairman, and elder statesman on the board, Jonathan Barfield serving New Hanover County as commissioner. He said Monday night that losing the title does not bother him because he will have a busy year representing the county across the state.
"I'm going to be as active as I've always been," said Barfield.
The commissioner said he will serve on a number of state boards, including the chairman of a mentoring task force to train county commissioners. Barfield was the first certified mentor by the National Association of County Commissioners.
"That's my task at hand right now," he said. "Just trying to get other commissioners to know what I know"
Both White and Dawson said Monday night that Barfield being the lone Democrat was not a factor in the board's decision. White added that any issues that might be perceived will be put aside.
"The voters and the citizens expect five people, five commissioners, to work together on non-partisan issues."
Now that the Monday night meeting has ended, there are only four commissioners. Rick Catlin resigned from the board to prepare for his new position as a legislator in Raleigh. He will represent North Carolina's 20th District in the State House.
Catlin was not the only outgoing member of the board. Jason Thompson's 12 years of service in local government came to an emotional close Monday night. Wiping away a tear, he thanked God, county staff and his family for dealing with the responsibility of living with a public servant. His wife and two sons, 8 and 14, sat in the audience.
"You guys have no memory of your father being anything other than an elected official," Thompson said. "And so for all the baseball games and sporting events that I missed, for the evening meals when I wasn't there, and especially for the good night kisses that I didn't deliver, I apologize and I thank you for your understanding."
Copyright 2012 WECT. All rights reserved.
322 Shipyard Boulevard