• 45°

New era takes root in Granite Quarry with swearing in of Cress, Linker

GRANITE QUARRY — Things got off to a rocky start Monday night for a new Granite Quarry Board of Aldermen as members immediately faced a 2-2 stalemate on who should be mayor pro tem.

In the end, newly elected Alderman John Linker smoothed things over by stepping back and instead of voting for himself cast his vote for Jim LaFevers, who then was chosen mayor pro tem by a 3-1 vote.

Otherwise, Linker said, the board could have been at an impasse all night.

Monday’s town board meeting started with the swearing in of Linker and Kim Cress as new aldermen, along with Bill Feather as mayor. Linker and Cress unseated Aldermen Mike Brinkley and Arin Wilhelm in the November election.

Feather was re-elected, though he had a close call with a write-in effort waged on behalf of former Mayor Mary Ponds.

After Feather, Linker and Cress were sworn in by Rowan County Clerk of Court Jeff Barger, it was up to Linker, Cress, LaFevers and Jim Costantino to decide among themselves who should be mayor pro tem.

Cress nominated Linker, Costantino nominated LaFevers, and the first vote — Feather was not allowed to break a tie —  went 2-2. Cress said people he had talked to during and after the election wanted change, “and that’s what I’m here for.”

He pointed to Linker’s past experience as an alderman and mayor in Granite Quarry and his service on the zoning board. Linker said he would not have a lot of learning or catching up to do given his track record.

“I feel like I’m very qualified to do it,” Linker said of the mayor pro tem job.

But LaFevers also referred to his 12 years of experience on the town board and made his pitch for the position. “I think I’m familiar with all we have going and the format we have done,” he said.

Costantino said both guys were qualified.

“I think either one would do a great job,” he said, but he voted for LaFevers a second time, as did LaFevers. Cress voted again for Linker, who faced making it 2-2 again with a vote for himself.

“I’ll cast my vote for Jim LaFevers,” he said.

During a public-comment period later, Ponds congratulated the new board members and said thanks should go to Brinkley and Wilhelm for their service to the town.

Ponds also thanked the residents of Granite Quarry and the “impact, tenacity and willingness” they showed. She said “an awful lot went on” in the last election, but she told the board members she is in full support of them and is willing to serve the town if called on.

“I’m just a phone call away,” she said. “… I want us to work together as a team.”

But before Ponds returned to her seat, she said there was something wrong with the new board.

“We’re going to work to get some women on that board,” she said.

Also sworn in to their positions Monday night were Town Manager Phil Conrad, Town Clerk Tanya Maria Word and Town Attorney Graham Corriher.

When the time came for Feather to talk about forming a “Mayor’s Advisory Board,” which he said would try to seek recommendations and comments from residents that he could bring back and share with the aldermen, he added, “Mary, I would like to put your name at the top of that list.”

Linker and Cress had questions about the advisory board. Both emphasized that it would have to be transparent and conduct its business in public. Linker said its meeting times should be published and it should be accessible to everyone.

Cress and Linker also questioned whether it would be considered a board or committee.

LaFevers said he welcomes any change that will increase communications with the public. If this committee and others are flooded with people wanting to serve the town, “we’ll be extremely happy,” he said.

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263. Read Wednesday’s edition for more on the Granite Quarry meeting.

Comments

Crime

Habitual felon sentenced to at least 8 years in prison

Kannapolis

City of Kannapolis to have bike rodeo Saturday

Crime

Two more charged for operating illegal gambling businesses

Education

A.L. Brown celebrates seniors with signing day

Business

Rebounding, but not recovered: Rowan County tourism begins challenging path toward normalcy

High School

High school baseball: Padgett leads Mustangs; 100th win for West coach Graham

Coronavirus

RSS superintendent, Board of Health discuss strategies for increasing student vaccination rates

Education

East Spencer charter school files petition to contest charter revocation

Nation/World

Gas stations report shortages as pipeline shutdown drags on

News

Lawyers: Black man didn’t drive into deputies who shot him

Nation/World

Liz Cheney says Trump and GOP backers threaten democracy

Coronavirus

Rowan Health Department clarifies county’s COVID-19 death total is 301

Landis

Landis approves new land development ordinance, zoning map

Landis

Landis approves body camera, stun gun purchase for public safety officers

Crime

One charged, another dead on sheriff’s most wanted list

Crime

No injuries after car shot eight times on Old Concord Road

Education

RSS talks first steps for new federal relief totaling $66 million

China Grove

Gary’s Barbecue staff, customers look back at 50 years

News

Salisbury Lions Club names Person of the Year, Lion of the Year at 78th annual banquet

Education

Student COVID-19 numbers show first decline since plan A

High School

High school golf: Fowler competes in state tournament

News

Amazon announces new distribution center for North Carolina

News

House passes bill to bar Cooper from mandating COVID shot

Coronavirus

Rowan County sees death 302 from COVID-19; Health Department to host final mass vaccine clinic