Newsoms residents accept nominations for town council

Published 11:23 am Saturday, May 7, 2016

The Newsoms Town Council will have four new members sworn into office on June 1, as only councilmen Joseph Steward and Judith Rose on Thursday accepted nominations to return to the board. Steward received 15 votes on the 61 ballots cast during Tuesday’s town elections, while Rose collected nine.

Though he received five votes — tying him with three others for of the final two seats available on the six-seat board — councilman Donald Bowling declined the nomination for another four-year term. That means that, pending they accept the nomination, Kendall Brock (15 votes), Damian Dwyer (8 votes), Jonathan Hinson (5) votes and Wesley Story (5 votes) will fill the remaining vacated seats.

Southampton County registrar Peggy Davis said on Friday that Brock and Story have accepted the nomination, but there is no timetable by which the others are required to do so.

“I’ve been in touch will all of [the nominees] and asked if they’d let us know as soon as possible because we can’t complete the certification to Richmond until they do,” she said.

Councilmen Shawn Geary and Clayton Gaskins, meanwhile, did not receive more than five votes on Tuesday and, therefore, were not officially recorded as being on the ballot. Former acting mayor/vice mayor Harvey Porter, who resigned at Monday evening’s town council meeting, did not officially appear on the ballot for mayor or town council, either. Porter was considered a town councilman for 16 years until he took reigns from former mayor Kenneth Cooke, who resigned in October.

Both Cooke and Porter were named individually and in their official capacity as mayor and vice mayor, respectively, in a lawsuit late last year. It was alleged that they unlawfully held closed meetings and attempted to terminate the town’s police chief, though Porter was removed from the suit after agreeing to resign from his position last month.

Resident Vanless Worrell was named Porter’s replacement on Tuesday, a duty he gladly accepted.

“Oh, sure! I’m definitely accepting. I’ll be sworn in as soon as they allow me to be sworn in,” he said. “I thank the people for electing me and taking the time to vote.”

Worrell received 15 votes, outdistancing the aforementioned Steward (12 votes) and Story (7 votes) for the seat.