Bertie Commissioners choose Wesson as leader

Published 4:21 pm Friday, December 6, 2019

WINDSOR – It was quite a Monday for Bertie County Commissioner Ron Wesson.

During the morning, he tossed his hat into the ring to seek a third term serving District-I (South Windsor) by filing for re-election. Wesson was first elected in 2012 and is currently serving his second term.

Later that same evening, at the regular December meeting of the Board of Commissioners, he was voted to serve his second stint as chairman; having served previously as chair in 2015 and as vice-chair in 2018.

County boards are required by law to re-organize their leadership annually, usually the month following the general election.

Outgoing chairman John Trent, who was finishing his third term, turned the proceedings over to interim county manager Juan Vaughan II who asked for names to be placed into nomination.

Commissioner Tammy Lee placed Wesson’s name in nomination, seconded by Trent. There were no other nominations and with no discussion, a unanimous 5-0 vote followed.

Next came the nomination for vice-chair and Wesson nominated Lee, also seconded by Trent. Once more, there was but a single nomination and approval was unanimous.

Following a short recess, each Commissioner made remarks about the process and the upcoming year with reflections on the year past.

Trent thanked the county for his year of service as chairman.

“These board members and myself have gotten a lot done; the beachfront property (off Salmon Creek) and things of that nature, and I just want to thank the citizens of Bertie County,” he noted.

Injecting a bit of humor, Ernestine Bazemore made light of the evening’s lack of acrimony over the vote.

“I know some of you came expecting the big fight,” she said, to ripples of laughter. “It’s a pleasure to serve on this board because there’s never a dull moment. I look forward to working with my fellow Commissioners and to the citizens of Bertie County, because you are the reason we are here – to serve your needs.”

Greg Atkins, who was exiting his first year as vice-chair, thanked the constituents as well.

“The chairs we sit in aren’t our chairs, they’re your chairs; and I thank you for giving me the opportunity to be here,” he acknowledged. “Thank you for allowing me to be here.”

He also joked to some of the new junior commissioners who stumbled over some parts of the language of their oath.

“I’ve done that, too,” he quipped. “And, anybody asking you to repeat all that stuff, it’s hard to do.”

Lee paid note to her second time as vice-chair.

“I’ve done this before, the first year I was elected,” she stated. “Thanks for the opportunity, and, if there’s any way I can help you, give me a call.”

Wesson closed the comments with his own observations of the job ahead.

“I thank my fellow Commissioners for their confidence in me in electing me chairman again. It’s a great obligation, and I look forward to the opportunity,” he remarked. “We are one Board. We all have our individual views, but when all is said and done, we are one Board. I want to assure that all Commissioners are well-informed on all issues and all opportunities facing Bertie County and work to improve the quality of life for all citizens here. Let’s move forward.”

With no public comments following the Commissioners’ remarks, the Board moved on to the business of the regular agenda.

 Junior Commissioners receive oath of office

Led by Bertie Early College High School senior and Colerain native Qudre Joyner, three junior Bertie County Commissioners were sworn in at the December Commissioners’ meeting.

Joining Joyner, who will be serving a second year in the civic capacity, will be first-termers Jakhia Basnight of Windsor, and Alexis Parker of Lewiston.

The junior commissioners will have no voting powers at board meetings, but will be able offer a teen perspective. Applications are available for students who would like to participate.

With their parents holding the Bible, the oath of office, just like with their adult counterparts, was administered, this time by Register of Deeds Annie Wilson.