Ahoskie seeks Council candidates

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 17, 2007

AHOSKIE – For the third time in less than five years, members of the Ahoskie Town Council face the task of filling a vacancy on their governing board.

This time around is a unique scenario.

Due to an error in residency requirements, Maurice Vann, the winner of the Ward B seat during November’s general election, was later declared ineligible. According to Hertford County Elections Director Sheila Privott, the law is very clear on this scenario, stating that if the winner of an election was disqualified, the seat was to be declared vacant.

Ahoskie Town Manager Tony Hammond added to that statement, saying according to the town charter, the seat cannot be automatically filled by the incumbent and must be declared vacant. That vacancy is effective Dec. 31.

In this case, the incumbent is C.R. Askew. However, Vann defeated Askew (105-60) in November’s General Election.

Now, the four seated members of the Ahoskie Town Council must fill the vacancy. Town officials are calling for those interested in filling the vacancy to submit a letter of interest to Ahoskie Mayor Linda Blackburn on or before 5 p.m. on Dec. 31. That letter should include qualifications and experience.

Those expressing an interest must be a registered voter and reside in Ahoskie’s Ward B district.

Hammond said the town council will review each application and set-up interviews with the potential candidates. Those interviews will be conducted during a special called meeting of the Ahoskie Town Council at 6 p.m. on Jan. 3.

Vann filed for the seat and won the election, but it was discovered during the mandated canvass of each Hertford County polling place, performed one week following the Nov. 6 election, that he actually lived in Ward A.

Privott said it was a human error as both Vann and the board of elections believed the candidate resided in Ward B. The line dividing the two wards is a block away from Vann’s residence.

What made this situation even more unique is that Vann was seeking the seat formerly held by his late brother, Larry “Cutt” Vann. Larry Vann was appointed to that council seat in August of 2003 upon the resignation of Andrew Hunter. In November of that year, Larry Vann won the election for that Ward B seat and served until his tragic death in a motorcycle accident in October of 2005.

Ahoskie Town Council members chose Askew to fill Larry Vann’s unexpired term, one which ended in December of this year.

Since the new term for that Ward B seat began this month, the person chosen by the Ahoskie Town Council is eligible serve a full four years.