Rowan GOP wants Yon for sheriff, but commissioners don’t act
By Jessie Burchette
The Rowan County Republican Executive Committee has thrown its support behind former candidate for sheriff Tony Yon to be appointed sheriff of Rowan County.
But the final decision on who will be appointed sheriff is up to the Rowan County Board of Commissioners, and the board took no action at its meeting Monday night. They didn’t discuss the issue.
Yon sent out an e-mail Sunday warning commissioners of the perils of ignoring the committee’s selection.
The Executive Committee, meeting in closed session, picked Yon Saturday morning from among five candidates seeking to fill the unexpired term of Sheriff George Wilhelm, who retired Nov. 30.
With 39 voting members of the committee attending, Yon got 25 votes.
Yon, chairman of the Executive Committee and a Davidson County deputy sheriff, initially said the meeting would be open to the press and public.
He later changed that position, barring the public and press from the Saturday morning session.
Four Republican commissioners who are also members of the Executive Committee decided not to attend the meeting since it was closed to the public.
Commissioners are not required to appoint the choice of the Executive Committee.
Since the Saturday selection, commissioners have received several e-mails calling on them to name Yon to the post, saying to appoint someone else will hurt the party in its efforts to retain current Republican officeholders and oust Democrat Rep. Lorene Coates.
Yon sent an e-mail to executive committee members saying they should be outraged at “forces working behind the scenes that are influencing our commissioners to ignore your wishes.
“… I am deeply concerned in what I am hearing back from our commissioners that they will not elect me as you have directed them to,” he wrote.
He went on to lay out the “ramifications of commissioners ignoring” the vote: “We don’t need our commissioners disassociating themselves from our party at this time. They must also remember that we have three Republican Commissioner’s seats open this election and their choice to ignore you will result in their defeat,” Yon wrote.
At the outset of Saturday’s session, Yon resigned as chairman of the Executive Committee in order to be a candidate, apparently leaving Donna Peeler, vice chairwoman, as the acting chairwoman.
The four other candidates who attended the meeting and spoke briefly to the Executive Committee were:
– Steve Schenk, former chief deputy, who said he would not run in the 2010 election for sheriff.
– Kevin L. Auten, current chief deputy and an announced candidate;
– Randall Correll, a Salisbury police officer;
– Joe “Travis” Allen, Rowan deputy sheriff and an announced candidate;
– Harry Welch, a local businessman and former candidate for sheriff.
– Brian Kiever, a former deputy and police officer who has worked for several federal agencies including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
In the 2006 GOP primary for sheriff, Correll finished second to Wilhelm with 35 percent of the vote. Yon finished in last place with around 5 percent the ballots cast.