Barber Appointed to Carthage Board
The Carthage Town Board voted Tuesday to appoint the son of a well-known town figure to fill the seat vacated by the sudden death of Sherwood Lapping.
The board chose Arthur "Artie" Barber. His late father had been fire chief, maintenance supervisor and unofficial court jester of the county seat. His son ran for the board once before, unsuccessfully challenging incumbent Jean Riley.
"People ask me who I'm running against," Barber said at the time. "I am not running against anybody. I'm just running for the Town Board in my home town."
Riley joined the other commissioners in unanimously choosing Barber to join them on the board.
"It was an embarrassment of riches," said Commissioner Milton "T" Dowdy. "We had six well-qualified people who were willing to serve. If we had had six seats to fill, we could have filled every one with a good choice."
Other candidates who applied were former longtime fire chief J.D. Monroe, who served as fire chief of Carthage for many years; Chris Lassiter, former chairman of the town's public works committee who had run unsuccessfully for a seat on the board twice before; Michael Campbell, a longtime Carthage resident and son of a former commissioner; Bert Patrick, a registered nurse and teacher at Sandhills Community College who has been serving the town for years on its historic committee; and Lisa Caddell, wife of former mayor Larry Caddell and active member of the Buggy Festival board.
All appeared before the board for individual interviews and submitted applications that included experience, expectations, and vision statements about the future direction Carthage should take.
None were disappointing, according to Commissioner Tommy Stewart. He was appointed to fill the seat left when Caddell resigned as mayor after winning election to the county Board of Commissioners.
"Artie told us he'd grown up in Carthage and wanted to continue to live in Carthage," Stewart said. "He and his wife are expecting a child. He's bought a house here. He wants to be sure the Carthage of the future stayed true to what makes it the town people love."
The board could have chosen any of a number of the others who would have had more experience in guiding and guarding their town, but -- like many busy people -- some had other duties that might have posed conflicts in one way or another, the commissioners said.
Barber represents the growing number of young families moving to town while at the same time being hometown born, hometown bred.
"When I came on the board, I had one thing uppermost in my mind," Dowdy said. "People who have not been represented, whose voices need to be heard, need to be at the table."
Dowdy retired after many years working for the town. During much of that time, Barber's dad had been his boss. Dowdy seconded Robert Sullivan's motion to appoint Barber.
Barber must stand for election next year to stay on the board.
"Every seat on the board -- except Jean Riley's -- will be on the ballot," Stewart said. "Every single one of us has to run that time to stay on the board. If they (voters) don't like it, they can change it."
Contact John Chappell at 783-5841 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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