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Harrell retains lead seat

WINDSOR – For the fourth consecutive year, the chairmanship of the Bertie County Board of Commissioners remains unchanged, but not without a dissenting vote.

As is tradition during their first meeting in December, the commissioners elect their leadership for the coming year. By a 3-1 vote, current board chairman Rick Harrell was reelected to his fourth consecutive one-year term in the lead seat.

Following the swearing in of Harrell and fellow Commissioner Wallace Perry, both of whom emerged victorious from November’s General Election, County Manager Zee Lamb opened yesterday’s (Monday) meeting by calling for nominations for chairman of the board.

Perry nominated Harrell. No other nominations were heard, prompting a quizzical response from Commissioner Norman Cherry Sr.

“I’d like to know why we are not changing chairs,” Cherry asked to which there was no response from his fellow board members.

“If there’s no answer, then there’s no answer,” Cherry said. “But I had to ask the question.”

Upon calling for the vote, Harrell was reelected as chairman by a 3-1 vote. Cherry, who cast the dissenting vote, then turned to Harrell and said, “nothing personal.”

“I appreciate the support of this board and the support of the people in Bertie County who have elected me to best serve them,” Harrell said. “With that support, we have made a lot of progress and we want to see that continue. The citizens of Bertie County will be better for it (progress) and this board asks for your continued support as Bertie County grows.”

Harrell then took over the meeting as chairman. He immediately called for nominations for vice-chairman, a position held by Cherry. Harrell nominated two-term incumbent Commissioner L.C. Hoggard III. No other nominations were entered and the vote was 3-1 in favor of Hoggard. Cherry again recorded the lone “nay” vote.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, Rev. Vonner Horton, who had earlier offered the invocation, implored the board to set aside any differences they may have had over its leadership and move forward in taking care of the county’s business. She said the people of Bertie County had spoken, apparently making reference to the recent election, and had put their faith in the same make-up of the board as it stood prior to Nov. 7.