Process begins to fill Bazemore#8217;s seat

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 21, 2006

WINDSOR – The passing of three-term Bertie County Commissioner J. Jasper Bazemore not only leaves a void among those who knew and loved this public servant, but it also leaves a vacant seat on the board.

Now, Bertie County political officials face the grim task of filling that empty seat.

In less than two weeks, Bazemore was scheduled to take the oath for his fourth term in office. That came on the heels of his political victory over write-in candidate John Richardson during the Nov. 7 General election.

According to procedure, Bazemore’s seat on the board will be declared as vacant during the Dec. 4 meeting of the Bertie Commissioners. It was at that meeting where Bazemore was scheduled to join incumbent colleagues Rick Harrell and Wallace Perry in a swearing-in ceremony, one signaling the start of their respective new four-year terms.

The Bertie County Democratic Party’s Executive Committee (Bazemore represented that party as a registered Democrat) can meet anytime after the seat has been declared vacant. That committee is charged with the responsibility to recommend an individual to the commissioners to fill the vacancy. That individual must be a qualified registered Democrat and live within the boundaries of Bazemore’s district n the Snakebite and Indian Woods voting precincts.

Upon receiving the recommendation, the four seated Bertie County Commissioners can accept or reject the name of the proposed replacement. If they reject the recommendation, the commissioners can themselves appoint an individual, pending they meet the aforementioned criteria.

Abiding by the law set forth in North Carolina State Statute 153A-27, if for any other reason the remaining members of the board do not fill a vacancy within 60 days after the day the vacancy occurs, the clerk to the board shall immediately report the vacancy to the clerk of superior court of the county. The clerk of superior court shall, within 10 days after the day the vacancy is reported to him, fill the vacancy.

The statute further states that the board of commissioners or the clerk of superior court, as the case may be, shall consult the county executive committee of the appropriate political party before filling a vacancy, but neither the board nor the clerk of the superior court is bound by the committee’s recommendation.

Citing 153A-27, State Board of Elections Executive Director Gary Bartlett said the approved appointee will serve only two years of Bazemore’s new four-year term. At the next election cycle (2008), a filing period will be declared open for Snakebite/Indian Woods district seat on the board of commissioners. The winner of the ensuing election will serve out the remaining two years (until 2010) of the term.