Chamberlain, Mitchell to lead Rowan County commissioners

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 3, 2009

By Jessie Burchette

Salisbury Post

Arnold Chamberlain and Chad Mitchell, the GOP winners in the 2004 election, will lead the Rowan County Board of Commissioners in 2007.

Chamberlain, 63, retired from Chamberlain Exterminating, edged Commissioner Jim Sides for the chairman’s job.

Chamberlain drew support from Commissioner Chad Mitchell and newly elected Commissioner Jon Barber in the voting Monday night.

Commissioner Tina Hall supported Sides for chairman who also voted for himself.

Chamberlain returned Barber’s support and nominated him for vice chairman.

Hall then nominated Mitchell.

Barber lost out on a 3-to-2 vote as Sides and Hall sided with Mitchell to make him the new vice chairman. A teacher at East Rowan High School, Mitchell is serving his second term. At 30 he is the youngest board member.

Chamberlain thanked the board and welcomed Hall and Barber, newcomers to the board. “It’s a honor to have this position. … It’s a job I do will all my heart.”

While much of the ceremony focused on Hall, Barber and Mitchell, the evening also belonged to Frank Tadlock and Steve Blount, whose terms ended.

A large crowd watched, listened and applauded as the events transpired.

Tadlock who has battled brain cancer for the past year, was in good spirits, smiling and speaking to many of those attending. Eight-year-old Preston Tadlock, helped maneuver his grandfather’s wheelchair to the front of the room for a presentation.

County Manager Bill Cowan presented Tadlock with a metal sculpture of the tree of life that will be placed in the Frank T. Tadlock South Rowan Regional Library.

“I will miss coming to the commissioners meetings,” said Tadlock, who served 10 years on the board. He said he got more out of serving than he gave, adding, “I love you, thank you so much for your support.”

Tadlock drew a standing ovation from commissioners and the audience.

Steve Blount, who served 12 years, thanked the county employees saying they make commissioners look good.

He also credited Marion Lytle, the county’s former planner who died in August 2004, for teaching him about the value of planning.

Blount went on to thank former county Manager Tim Russell, former county Attorney John Holshouser and Rita Foil, former clerk to the board. “They gave their all,” Blount said, “and are loved by man.”

The board fired Russell in 2004 after learning he had hired private investigators to find the writer of hundreds of anonymous letters critical of county government. Holshouser subsequently quit and the board removed Foil from the clerk’s post, but retained her as a county employee.

Foil, the public information officer for the Rowan-Salisbury School System, was the only one of the three at the session Monday night.

On behalf of the board, Cowan presented Blount with a wrapped gift — a fountain pen.

Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Larry Ford administered the oath of office to Barber, Hall and Mitchell.

Hall’s husband, David, held the Bible and later had to pull out his glasses to see how to put the official commissioner’s pin on his wife’s jacket.

Barber’s father, William, assisted his son.

As Ford started to administer the oath, he paused when he got to the written name, William Sherrill Barber III, and looked at Barber, “I thought your name was Jon.”

“It is,” replied the new commissioner.

Mitchell, took the oath for the second time with his mother, Robin, holding the Bible. Later, his girlfriend, Allison Hardin, assisted with the pinning.

Following the ceremonies, the board took a 45-minute break for a reception.