OUR VIEW: Lawhon is right on the money

Published 6:08 pm Friday, June 14, 2019

This week we give a standing ovation to County Commissioner Bill Lawhon who spoke up against two former commissioners being appointed to the Stanly Community College Board of Trustees.

Here is what Lawhon said during the Monday night meeting.

“We need to involve as many different people as possible, and not just be nominating our friends and buddies,” he said.

Lawhon is exactly right. The power to appoint citizens to serve on boards should be used as a way to get others involved in the governmental process.

This is where Stanly’s future leaders can begin and learn about the process and procedures before running for elected office.

Using appointments as a gift to former commissioners who can’t get elected anymore and need to hold onto an illusion of power to maintain their egos is just a waste of a spot. The commissioners need to seek out those who may be able to bring new experiences and fresh ideas to the board.

Done properly, appointments can help give voice to segments of the population not represented on the elected county commission. In Stanly County’s case, that would be every segment of the population except white males.

The Stanly Community College Board of Trustees is more diverse than many appointed boards in the county. It has an equal number of males and females on the 12-member board but only has one minority member who was appointed by the governor. In a county with a minority population of 16 percent, another minority member would be appropriate.

Did the county commissioners who made the two selections even consider the current makeup of the board before choosing the two former commissioners who also serve on other boards?

“What you are telling the voters tonight is that you just want to load up appointed boards with a very select few,” Lawhon said.

The four county commissioners who voted to accept the two appointments should heed Lawhon’s words the next time an opportunity for an appointment comes up and help open up our local governments to new faces with new ideas.