CORNELIUS – The Cornelius Town Board filled its vacant commissioner seat after six months of debate, 19 applications and a botched vote count.
Mayor Lynette Rinker announced that commissioners will swear Bruce Trimbur into office at their July 22 meeting. Trimbur has served as chairman of the Cornelius Parks, Arts, Recreation & Culture Commission.
Commissioners chose Trimbur through a points system. Three points went to a commissioner’s top-ranked candidate, two to the second and one to the third.
Town Attorney Bill Brown erred in announcing during the July 8 meeting that Woody Washam, a well-known figure around Lake Norman, received the most points and would fill the vacant seat.
Brown said Washam won seven points, Trimbur earned six points and 16-year commissioner Thurmon Ross received four.
Commissioner Jeff Hare raised concern over the amount of points given to Ross. A recount showed that Ross and Washam both received six points while Trimbur received seven.
“I wasn’t a math major,” Brown said.
Rinker said that Trimbur would not be filing for town commissioner in the upcoming November election.
That will give Trimbur less than three months to serve as the town’s fifth commissioner.
The seat became available after Rinker was unanimously chosen by fellow board members to serve as mayor. She replaced Jeff Tarte, who took a North Carolina Senate seat in January.
Jim Duke, a candidate for commissioner, requested that the board remove him from consideration of the interim position. He urged others filing for the November election also remove themselves from consideration of the temporary position.
“Incumbent candidates should not have an advantage in the election,” Duke said. “Nor should you be placed in a position of inadvertently endorsing a candidate into office. In other words, the whole election process should be an even playing field and any candidate should not have an unfair advantage.”