GOP-controlled board elects Democrat leaders

Published 12:33 am Thursday, December 15, 2011

A split vote by Republican members of the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners sealed the election of two Democrats to leadership positions on the board Monday.

County leaders voted 5-2 to re-elect Jerry Langley as chairman of the board and 5-2 to elect Robert Cayton as vice chairman of the board.

Four county commissioners are Republicans and three are Democrats. But despite their majority on the board, the GOP commissioners often split their votes on issues before the panel.

Commissioners Stan Deatherage and Hood Richardson, Republican members of the board, cast votes for Cayton, who was nominated for the chairman’s post by Deatherage. Langley, who voted for himself, was supported by Commissioners Ed Booth and Cayton, Democrats, and GOP Commissioners Al Klemm and Jay McRoy.

Klemm and McRoy also voted for Cayton as vice chairman. Deatherage and Richardson voted to return Deatherage to the vice chairman’s post.

In other business before them, the commissioners:

  • Unanimously approved a request from the Beaufort County Board of Education for $335,333.24 to pay for construction projects previously approved by the county commissioners and local public-school leaders.
  • Voted unanimously to allocate $3,974 in drug forfeiture funds to allow the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office to buy a new vehicle to replace one that was lost in an accident that was not the fault of office staff. The funds will be combined with an $18,000 insurance payment to buy the new vehicle at a cost of $21,974.
  • Voted unanimously to approve the purchase of new cabinets and a kitchen sink in a conference room in the sheriff’s office at an estimated cost of $6,575.
  • Voted 6-1 to approve travel expenses in the amount of $3,817.28, with Richardson casting the sole dissenting vote.
  • Made the following appointments: Frank Velde as the public’s representative to the Beaufort County Board of Health; Jeffrey Robinson as the Aurora representative, Doug Mercer as the Washington representative and Richard Pitts as the at-large representative to the Beaufort County Planning Board; Bill Booth as the county representative to the Beaufort County Economic Development Commission; Catherine Keech to the Beaufort County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council; and a slate of 14 people to the county executive committee of the Southern Albemarle Association. The commissioners tabled appointments to the Beaufort County Community Advisory Council and the Chocowinity Township and Long Acre Township representatives to the county Planning Board.

All commissioners attended the meeting.