Linda Blackburn (right) accepts the oath of office as a member of the Ahoskie Town Council from Town Clerk Joleatha Chestnutt. Blackburn was appointed by Council to fill the unexpired term of O.S. “Buck” Suiter Jr. who resigned in November. Staff Photo by Cal Bryant

Archived Story

Blackburn returns

Published 8:41am Thursday, December 13, 2012

AHOSKIE – Three seats to the left….that’s how far Linda Blackburn moved since the last time she sat in a position of authority on the Ahoskie Town Council.

Blackburn, the town’s former Mayor, was sworn in on Tuesday morning as the Council’s choice to replace O.S. “Buck” Suiter Jr. who resigned his seat effective at the close of the board’s November meeting. Suiter had one-year remaining on his four-year term.

“Thank-you to this Council for giving me the opportunity to come back and re-join this team,” Blackburn said later in the meeting. “I’ve always been a team player and that hasn’t changed during the year I’ve been away from you. I look forward to this opportunity to serve this town.”

Blackburn added that she was very aware of the size of the shoes she has been asked to fill.

“I’m very humbled to be sitting here in this particular seat,” she said. “Mr. Suiter leaves a big seat, big shoes to fill. He brought a lot to this table and to the citizens of this town.”

Blackburn also shared remarks on comments she has heard regarding having more young people involved in town government.

“I apologize to ya’ll because I can’t be any younger, but what I do bring to the table is experience,” she stressed. “There’s nothing wrong with experience. What I’m hopeful of is that more young people will start to serve this town, first being appointed to committees and learn from us who are more experienced. That way they can learn the system from the ground up and that will prepare them to take the next step to the seats around this (Council) table.”

Two of Blackburn’s Council colleagues, Elaine Myers and Malcolm Copeland, welcomed their former Mayor back to the board.

“Linda, you do have a big seat there to fill; Mr. Suiter made significant contributions to this town during his many years on this Council,” Myers noted. “But we are very much aware of what you can bring to this table. We welcome you back and look forward to working with you for the betterment of the Town of Ahoskie.”

“Linda, we do welcome you back,” said Copeland. “You are sitting in a big chair, but you did a lot of big things when you were our Mayor; all one has to do is look around this town to see that. You have proven yourself as a leader and a team player and I look forward to working with you as this town continues to grow.”

Blackburn was sworn-in by Joleatha Chestnutt, clerk to the Council. She had previously served the town as its Mayor over an eight-year period (2003-11) before being defeated by current Mayor Brien Lassiter during the 2011 municipal election.

In another matter addressed by the Council in regards to Suiter’s resignation, they needed to find a replacement since he served the town as its Mayor Pro Tempore. When the floor opened for nominations, Copeland placed the name of Myers into consideration. Councilman Maurice Vann offered a second and Myers was elected Mayor Pro Tempore by a 4-0 vote. Councilman Winfred Hardy was absent from Tuesday’s meeting.

Suiter, a 25-year veteran of the board, announced his resignation during the Council’s October 9 meeting. As far as to what led him to resign, Suiter said there were “a whole lot of reasons, but I guess the main one is that I feel that this is the right time. I’ve enjoyed my many years of service here and I’d like to thank the citizens for allowing me to serve them.”

Suiter first joined the Council in 1983, appointed to fill an unexpired term. He was elected to the same seat later that year and earned reelection through 1991 at which time he had to resign due to work-related commitments – traveling statewide through his position with what was then Centura Bank. He was appointed back to the Council in 1994 to fill yet another unexpired term and has served continuously, through numerous elections, until officially resigning at the close of the Council’s Nov. 13 meeting.

  1. MR.R

    …forgive me, I meant the Gallery Theatre.

    Suggest Removal

  2. MR.R

    Seriously, that was alot of fun to read, the comments that is. I noticed something down there about drawing in certain people into our community and that is about our Earl Theatre. We already have a great theatre that people should remember. Peace.

    Suggest Removal

  3. TheOnlyOne

    O boy you got me there, Schweetheart.

    Drink up! You may as well.

    You’ve got absolutely nothing to lose.

    Suggest Removal

  4. Hears-two-ewe
  5. TheOnlyOne

    To Hears-two-ewe:

    You were oh-so-offended by the things said about Ms. Blackburn but appear to carry a vendetta against Mr. Lassiter and hell-bent on fragging his character. Maybe you’re his wife. Or maybe you’re Linda Blackburn herself, tooting her own horn as she’s so apt to do, never once addressing her failings (or her disastrous affairs and broken moral compass).

    Your statements about how the Wal-Mart will affect this town are absurd, because anyone with a TV and/or the Internet can not escape the knowledge that Wal-Mart decimates small towns and your bloated justifications can’t and won’t deceive us. This wasn’t done for the good of Ahoskie. It was done for the good of Linda Blackburn.

    In fact no matter the project under Blackburn’s tenure, you can bet someone close to her was getting a fat kickback.

    Your voter statistics? All sour grapes. Count it whatever way you please, you still lost and you still need to move on. Ahoskie needs good, thoughtful and compassionate people. NOT bitter pills such as yourself and your “buddy”, Linda Blackburn.

    To all your ramblings I say, don’t get too comfortable in that seat. It won’t last.

    Suggest Removal

  6. Hears-two-ewe

    All of you are spouting pure baloney, laced with misspellings and poor punctuation, which speaks to the “intellectual” comments you’ve made.

    Linda Blackburn did more for Ahoskie than any mayor in living memory and I have a long memory. It began early in her first term, when she orchestrated the removal of a do-nothing town manager and led the search that found Tony Hammonds, a manager who gets things done.

    The high school renovation, the new sewer plant (required for commercial growth), a new police station, a new fire station, a recreation complex, a Super Wal-Mart commitment and a downtown facade renovation grant program happened with Linda as mayor. Do you actually believe any of this would have happened without persistent, effective mayoral-council behind-the-scenes and out-front leadership?

    Then, the “local boy” mayor was sworn in and quickly found out he couldn’t bully the town manager and town council into firing good department heads or into changing the way our town is governed. So, he ducked back into the shadows of messing with other men’s wives, offering no vision for the future and no initiatives for action to improve where we live. I’ve been told his participation is now at a bare minimum.

    If you ill-informed commenters can’t remember what actually happened with Mayor Blackburn, the least you can do is refrain from writing hurtful inaccuracies about a fine community servant.

    Suggest Removal

  7. nascarkid

    Amazing how we can have the right to vote, vote her out and she still winds up in.

    Suggest Removal

  8. ThomasJefferson

    Yes unfortunately there is inbreeding when it comes to town positions, but don’t blame them! I have yet to see many of the intellectually good people of Ahoskie step up and take it from them.

    The current regime says:
    Raise Taxes (Double taxation City and County)
    Bleed the Wealthy
    Bloat the Payrolls with incompetent officials

    We need:
    People with ideas to step forward
    Cut the Taxes
    Overhaul the Educational System
    Stop fighting money makers like OLF
    Entertain intellectual companies (Apple, Google, IBM. etc)
    Get HIGH Tek industry in here that will grow other HIGH Tek industry… not Nucor and pellet mills!!!!

    Suggest Removal

  9. ahoskie123

    Let’s see….Mayoral race-lost, State Assembly race-lost, now she gets appointed as a town council member. Ahoskie’s politics have not moved forward but have moved backwards. This town needs “new” blood in order for it to grow. It’s obvious that the majority of the towns council are an old, non-progressive group which impedes the growth of the town. Buck Suiters seat should have been opened to a special election and allowed the People of Ahoskie to select who represents them. It’s the same ole people and the same ole thing.

    Suggest Removal

  10. TheOnlyOne

    Ahoskie: One step forward, 100 steps backward. Pity.

    Suggest Removal

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