This morning, the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners will swear in its newest member. Republican Thomas Wolfe will fill the vacancy left by former commissioner Rick Catlin.
Wolfe’s appointment came as a surprise to Dr. Derrick Hickey, who was nominated by the New Hanover County Republican Party.
At last Friday’s commissioner meeting, a long and uncomfortable silence trailed Chairman Woody White as he presented the party’s recommendation of Hickey. Only Commissioner Brian Berger supported the nomination, and it failed. Vice Chair Beth Dawson then nominated Thomas Wolfe, the current chairman of the New Hanover County Alcohol Beverage Control Board.
Chairman White and Commissioner Jonathan Barfield voted in his favor, and Berger dissented. He and his wife confronted Chairman White. As White stepped away and wished him the best of luck, Hickey returned with “Well I don’t wish you the best of luck.” Hickey said he’s disappointed the commission decided to subvert the will of the people and pick one of their friends.
“Well, I’ve known Mr. White for 10 years now. And for him to say not at least seconding my nomination is not personal, well of course it’s personal. Up until moments ago I would’ve considered Mr. White as one of my friends. And clearly that was a miscalculation on my part.”
Hickey said he planned to finish out his term on the New Hanover County School Board, which expires in 2014. Today, Wolfe begins his first day on the job, fulfilling a vacancy left by Catlin earlier in the month after winning a seat in the state house.