Hester’s resignation leaves heavy hearts

Published 10:47 am Thursday, April 5, 2012

There’s no doubt after April 30th, the Northampton County Board of Commissioners will have an obvious void in their midst.

On Monday, Northampton County Commission Chair James Hester announced he is resigning from office effective on that date. He had already made his intentions clear in February when he announced he would not file for re-election, but his resignation still comes as a shock.

In a venerable move on Monday, the seven year veteran of the board addressed his constituents and colleagues by reading aloud a prepared statement.

“I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to represent my district and for the privilege of serving with my fellow commissioners,” he said. “I shall always remember and be humbly grateful for the trust and confidence the citizens of this great county have placed in me.”

Hester also thanked County Manager Wayne Jenkins for his “wisdom and expertise.”

Commission Vice Chair Virginia Spruill responded with accolades for Hester thanking him for his fair thinking and objectiveness.

“You have been an inspiration to all of us,” she said.

I’m sure Hester’s presence on the board will be missed on the board by his colleagues, county employees and the citizens of Northampton County.

In the past six years, I’ve had the task of covering the Northampton County Board of Commissioners along with various other boards and agencies within the county.

And even though, as a reporter, you’re supposed to question everything and be objective as you report on stories, county officials are people you see often in your line of work.

You’re there each time they meet and you see them in all aspects of that role—the good the bad, and yes, at times, the truly ugly. You see them struggle and toil with the topics at hand. At the same time, you come to respect those representatives as individuals and as people you work with.

Many don’t realize it, but being a representative for your community in any capacity is tough job that too often requires tough decisions. As the rest of his colleagues, Hester is to be commended for his poise under pressure in maneuvering those political obstacles.

Rev. Hester has always brought forth, as Mrs. Spruill said, impartial views to the board as well as sound thought and rational thinking.

Hester is a straight-shooter. Open and honest, he’s never afraid to say what he thinking and his opinion is always candid.  When it comes down to it, he always has the well-being of the county’s citizens on his mind.

But the latter is second nature to Hester, as Reverend for more than 50 years, he knows the importance of community and leading with a steady hand.

Hester feels that this is the time for him to step away from his post. The urge for change and do other things in one’s life is a notion anyone can relate to.

As I’m sure many have already, I wish Rev. Hester and his family the best in the future and thank him for all the work he’s done for his community.

Amanda VanDerBroek is a Staff Writer for the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. For comments and column suggestions email: amanda.vanderbroek@r-cnews.com or call (252) 332-7209.