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Notable Rowan County names dot board appointment list

Every month, Rowan County Commissioners consider various board appointments, but this month’s batch include multiple, former commissioner candidates.

Some of the more notable names on the board appointments list include: former Commission Chairman Jim Sides, whose term just ended; 2014 Republican Commissioner Candidate Joe Coladarci, who didn’t receive enough votes to advance past party primaries; Rowan Republican Party Chairman John Leatherman; and previous housing board chairman Mac Butner, who came under fire this year for controversial Facebook posts.

The board appointments were initially up for consideration at the Dec. 1 commissioner meeting, but were delayed until Dec. 15 partially because not all applications had been received, said commission chairman Greg Edds. Commissioner Mike Caskey said the large number of board appointments — more than three dozen different spots — was also a reason. The additional time would give new commissioners time to familiarize themselves with all applicants, Caskey said.

“It’s interesting because several years ago it was hard to find people to fill all of the boards, now it seems like people are more interested,” Caskey said.

Because of the delay, additional applications were accepted until Friday, Dec. 5. Most of the additional applications that came in were for volunteer fire departments’ board of trustees. Other, additional applications that came in included the Planning Board, Adult Home Care Advisory Board and Rescue Squad.

Sides applied for two different boards — Public Health and Rescue Squad — but said he preferred one or the other and not both. He was unsuccessful in his 2014 bid for re-election to the Rowan County Board of Commissioners and currently serves on as chairman of the Department of Social Services Board.

“I have applied for the Rescue Squad as my primary request; this is the board I am most passionate about,” Sides said in an email. “However, with the new board of commissioners, I do not know if I will have the support to obtain reappointment to this board. In case I did not get this appointment, I thought I would apply for the Board of Health.”

Rowan County residents can only serve on two boards. So, many of the applicants list one he or she would be willing to give up if appointments are successful. For example, Coladarci serves on both the Planning board and Zoning Board of Adjustments. The list of board applications states that Coladarci would resign from the Zoning Board of Adjustments if his application for the Economic Development Commission is approved.

The Planning Board perhaps contains the largest number of notable applicants. There are four total vacancies. Current board members Darlene Blount and Rip Kersey applied for reappointment. Leatherman and Butner both applied for the Planning Board. Other applicants include: La Resistance member Mark Lyerly; Rowan Tea Party leader William McCubbins; Roy Bentley, who helped run La Resistance during the 2014 campaign; and Blake Steen, who works for Husqvarna and the Delhaize Group, according to his LinkedIn profile.

When asked why they applied for the Planning Board, both Leatherman and Butner responded by citing previous experience in the real estate business.

“I have years of personal experience with real estate and have invested a lot of money,” Leatherman said. “When you are investing your own money, it’s different than spending someone else’s”

Butner has served on the Planning Board previously cited his varied experience in real estate and planning, but also commented on the nature of some board applications.

“What concerns me is we have had people on boards that are no where near qualified,” Butner said. “There are those who have used board as political springboards to county commission.”

Butner’s term on the housing board recently ended after he decided not to seek reappointment. He also attempted to run for county commissioner in 2014 as an unaffiliated candidate. While on the housing board, he was criticized for making racially charged comments. Though,  ultimately decided that the posts weren’t discriminatory.

Other boards on the Dec. 15 appointment list include the Airport Advisory board, Tourism Development Authority, Local Emergency Planning Committee, Cardinal Innovations Healthcare Solutions, Juvenile Crime Prevention Council, Home and Community Care Block Grant Committee and Town of Cleveland Zoning Board of Adjustment and Planning Board.

A total of 18 volunteer fire departments also dot the board appointments list.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246

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