Porter announces bid for Southampton County supervisor

Published 9:36 am Wednesday, May 25, 2011

FRANKLIN—A financial/real estate consultant and former finance director for Mobil Corp. in North and South America and Africa is running for a seat on the Southampton County Board of Supervisors.

Barry Porter, 63, will run as an independent, which means his name will not appear on the ballot until the Nov. 8 general election. A Newsoms native whose 23-year career with Mobil uprooted him to Brussels and Canada, Porter is running for the Franklin District seat held by Walter Young, whose four-year term expires at the end of the year.

Young has not announced plans to run and could not be reached for comment.

Porter’s primary concern is county finances.

“I think there needs to be a more rigorous analysis of financial decisions so we can afford the future,” he said.

Porter, a member of the county watchdog group Citizens for Responsible Government, has been attending supervisors’ meetings the last six to eight months.

“I was a bit disappointed in the way our county government was run,” he said. “I think the council lacks a certain perspective and background to evaluate the more complex financial issues. I don’t see anyone on the board asking the penetrating questions, which get to the heart, so you can make your best decision.”

Porter also believes an in-depth exploration of opportunities is needed to run the county more efficiently.

“I see the county moving on a path of increasing expenses with restricted resources, and that’s going to blow up one day,” he said. “It’s starting to blow up right now.”

He’s concerned about the county’s debt, which he said is $69 million to $70 million.

“We have 18,500 residents,” Porter said. “That’s over $3,000 for every man, woman and child. We got that way by not paying attention to what we were spending and doing.”

Porter has a master’s degree in business administration from The College of William and Mary. Prior to working for Mobil, he taught math in James City Williamsburg Public Schools and was an adjunct math instructor at Thomas Nelson Community College.

Porter and his wife, Kay, have been married 26 years.