SILER CITY — The Siler City Board of Commissioners is seeking residents interested in filling the board’s District 2 seat, left vacant with the passing of long-time commissioner and Mayor Pro-Tem …
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SILER CITY — The Siler City Board of Commissioners is seeking residents interested in filling the board’s District 2 seat, left vacant with the passing of long-time commissioner and Mayor Pro-Tem Larry Cheek.
Cheek, who died on May 26, had been re-elected to a four-year term last November.
Residents interested in completing the term are eligible if they are registered and able to vote in the district. They’re asked to submit letters of intent by 2 p.m. on August 31 to Siler City Town Clerk Jenifer Johnson.
Depending on the office, elections laws vary as to how a vacancy in an elected position is replaced. In the case of municipalities, a vacancy on a town board is typically filled by someone appointed by that town board to complete the term.
The Siler City Board of Commissioners decided at its regular meeting on July 20 to use the same process to fill Cheek’s vacancy as it used in 2013 to replace a District 4 vacancy. At that time, the District 4 seat was left vacant when then-commissioner John Grimes was appointed by the board to complete the term of Mayor Charles Johnson, who died in office. Bill Haiges was appointed to the District 4 seat by the commissioners; he was later elected to the post and continues to serve on the board.
Siler City Town Manager Roy Lynch said the process began with notices on the town’s website, emails out from the town’s email database and information disseminated through the media. Interested parties will be interviewed by the board during open session, which means that anyone can attend. In 2013, those interviews took place over two meetings. After the interviews were complete, the board was provided ballots which lists each interested resident’s name.
“The town wants the appointment to be one of transparency and allow time and opportunity for those interested to reply,” Lynch said.
District 2 encompasses the center portion of the northern part of Siler City but also includes several areas to the far northwest where annexation has taken place. According to Chatham County GIS/Mapping Division, the district has a population of about 1,700 people, about 40% of whom are white, making it a majority-minority district. The district also trends young, with a median age of 33 years old and with about 30% of the population under 18.
Though the town created a deadline for receipt of letters of interest, no timeline for the interviews and voting have been established, but the vacancy will likely be filled before the end of the year, according to Lynch.
“We all agree that Mayor Pro-Tem Cheek was such a valuable member of the board and he can’t be replaced,” Lynch said. “But as stated at the previous board meeting by one of the commissioners, it’s time to move forward in filling the vacancy with a resident from District 2.”
Letters of interest can be sent to Johnson via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to P.O. Box 769, Siler City, N.C. 27344.
Casey Mann can be reached at CaseyMann@Chathamnr.com.