Jason Thompson and Rick Catlin appeared for the last time as New Hanover County Commissioners at last night’s meeting in downtown Wilmington.
And two freshmen were sworn in alongside newly-reelected Jonathan Barfield. It was these newest commissioners who immediately took the reins and also pledged to put an end to dysfunction and divisiveness on the Board.
As the seventh woman in history to serve on the New Hanover County Commission, Beth Dawson’s first motion put Woody White forward as Chairman. White then moved to nominate Dawson as Vice Chair. Both motions passed unanimously.
Dawson said her first order of business is to foster collaboration and much-needed professionalism.
“Well, I think just maintaining open communication, first and foremost, and I wouldn’t know any other way to do it -- other than to reach out to my fellow commissioners to ask for their opinions, to hope that they listen to my opinions. And we may not always agree on everything, but hopefully we will build consensus to make the best decision for all the citizens.”
Chairman White emphasized the importance of full participation from all commissioners because citizens have chosen people to represent them – not parties.
“As far as we all are concerned, there are not Republican and Democratic differences. There are issues of great importance to our citizens.”
The morning after the election, White said he made his first call to Democrat Jonathan Barfield, the longest-serving commissioner.