Sides elected new county board chairman

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 4, 2012

SALISBURY — The new Rowan County Board of Commissioners elected Jim Sides as its new chairman on Monday, along with Craig Pierce as vice chairman.
Pierce was one of two new commissioners sworn in at Monday’s meeting. The other was Mike Caskey, who stepped down from the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education just before taking the county seat.
Once the new, all-Republican board was seated, Pierce nominated Sides as chairman. Commissioner Chad Mitchell, the previous chairman, immediately moved to close the nominations.
Caskey then nominated Pierce as vice chairman, with Mitchell again closing the floor soon afterward. No vote was needed for either title, because there were no other nominations made.
Sides said he appreciates the confidence of the board, and he will put his whole heart into his new position.
Before taking a recess, the board recognized outgoing commissioners Carl Ford, the previous vice chairman, and Raymond Coltrain for their service.
Ford will move on to represent N.C. House District 76 starting in January. He gave the invocation to start the meeting, and he was moved to tears as he prayed for the new board.
“This job has been his heart for four years — his heart and soul – and I’m convinced that it will be same when he goes to the legislature of North Carolina,” Sides said. “He’s done a great job for this county.”
Sides also said there has never been a time when he couldn’t come and talk to Coltrain about any issue.
“We didn’t agree on a lot of issues, but he was always kind, he was always honest and he was always straightforward,” he said. “I always knew where he stood.”
Coltrain, a Democrat, said the day was bittersweet for him.
“The bitter part is the fact that I won’t have the opportunity to be engaged in subject matters that contribute to your lives,” Coltrain said. “I’ve always said if you can contribute to someone’s life, you’ve had a good day. In this role as county commissioner, I won’t have that again. The sweet part about it is the fact that I won’t have to be involved in an environment that I’m not real comfortable in.”
He said he did his best to make decisions based on the facts, not just other people’s opinions.
“I say this with due respect to the individuals,” Coltrain said. “For me to have to be involved in the process of making decisions that affect people’s lives that are basically determined by personal egotistical goals, or political ramifications for any one or more than one commissioner, was not enjoyable.”
But he did enjoy working with county staff members and his fellow commissioners, he said, to help the people of the county. He choked up as he thanked his most important source of support – his family, and especially his wife.
Ford, a Republican, also thanked the rest of the previous Board of Commissioners and his family. After joking and laughing about some of his experiences as a commissioner, he said he looks forward to serving as a state representative in Raleigh.
“It’s been a great four years, and I’ve enjoyed serving the citizens and working with these folks,” Ford said, gesturing to the board. “We had a great time and got a lot of things accomplished.”

Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.