In 2015, Granite Quarry voters will cast ballots for mayor

GRANITE QUARRY — Capping off several meetings of discussion, the Granite Quarry Board of Aldermen voted Monday night to amend the town charter and provide for a separate mayoral election every two years.

Going into Monday night, board members were agreed that voters should elect a mayor. The unresolved questions included how long a mayoral term should be and whether an alderman, midway through his own four-year term, could run for mayor without giving up his seat if he lost.

Aldermen quickly answered both of those questions Monday. They opted for mayoral elections every two years, not four. In addition, an alderman only two years into his four-year term, could run for mayor, lose and still finish out the two years remaining on his term as alderman.

Granite Quarry residents won’t vote for a mayor separately until the 2015 municipal election.

At present, Granite Quarry has a five-member town board whose members are elected to staggered, four-year terms. After each municipal election every two years, the aldermen elect a mayor and mayor pro tem among themselves.

Salisbury City Council also chooses its mayor and mayor pro tem in this fashion.

In recent years, the Granite Quarry board’s choice has been Mary S. Ponds, though she was selected in 3-2 votes the past two times.

Alderman Jim LaFevers made the motion Monday night for the separate mayoral election every two years, and Mayor Pro Tem Bill Feather seconded it. It won unanimous approval.

In November, two seats on the board are up for election to four-year terms. In December, the new board once again will have to choose a mayor among itself — the last time this process will take place.

In 2015, after the change is made, two other seats as aldermen will be open and a mayor will be elected for the first time.

Arin Wilhelm, a challenger for alderman this year, handed out copies to the board on possible options they might want to consider on electing a mayor, including an option going with the highest vote-getters.

Wilhelm presented his recommendations during a public comment session.

Another board challenger in November, Wes Rhinier, presented two resolutions to board members for their consideration. The resolutions were unrelated to the mayoral election.

One was titled “A Resolution to Preserve and Defend the U.S. Constitution and N.C. Constitution.” It called on the Board of Aldermen, as representatives of the people, to defend the Second Amendment and Article I, Section 30 of the N.C. Constitution.

Another resolution was titled “A Resolution to Protect the Privacy and Security of Law-Abiding Gun Owners in North Carolina.” It called on the board to defend the safety and privacy rights of lawful citizens and instructed aldermen to ask the governor and N.C. General Assembly “to enact legislation protecting gun owners from undue and unwanted release of personal information by exempting said information from the public records laws.”

“Standing up for the Second Amendment, or any of the other amendments comprising the Bill of Rights, is not a Republican or Democratic issue,” Rhinier said. “It’s an American issue.”

The town board took no action on the resolutions.

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.

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