Pinehurst Council Interviewing Candidates for Vacancy
The Pinehurst Village Council is in the process of vetting candidates for its vacant seat.
Village Manager Andy Wilkison said Wednesday that council members are individually interviewing candidates, and that those interviews are scheduled through Friday afternoon. Wilkison said that he schedules the interviews, but isn’t involved in the process itself.
The vacancy was not discussed at the council’s work session Tuesday. Mayor Virginia “Ginsey” Fallon told The Pilot by phone before that meeting that each council member has submitted names for consideration.
“We should be looking for the best person for the job,” she said. “Experienced — one who can jump in with both feet. I’m just hoping we can have a good replacement.”
The council vacancy came about when Fallon resigned her seat to become the village’s mayor on March 4. The previous mayor, George Lane, died on Feb. 23.
The office of mayor is separately elected from the four council seats.
Councilman Doug Lapins had also expressed an interest in the mayor’s job, but formally withdrew his candidacy. He said that he wanted to avoid a potentially controversial and divisive impasse.
Fallon said it was important that the village heal and move forward in unison in the wake of Lane’s death.
After Fallon’s appointment, the council indicated that it wanted to complete the interview process for the vacancy before Mayor Pro Tem Joan Thurman goes out of town late next week. If it agrees on a candidate before then, it could call a special meeting to make its appointment.
Wilkison said that the council expected to interview a total of four candidates this week. He would not divulge the names of those candidates.
He did say that one of them lives in Pinewild Country Club. Because the village won’t officially annex Pinewild until March 31, the council would be unable to appoint that candidate before then.
The selection process has generated speculation and rumors in the village.
One of those rumors claims that Lapins withdrew his interest in becoming mayor and allowed Fallon to have the job under the condition that former Councilman Jeff Dawson would not be considered for the vacancy.
Lapins edged out Dawson for a council seat in last year’s election by just 72 votes. Dawson had served on the council since 2007, when he was — ironically — appointed to fill the seat that Lapins resigned earlier that year.
Dawson said Wednesday that he has had no contact with the village about the vacancy and has not been interviewed. He said that he was informed about the alleged agreement from someone who had spoken directly with the council.
“That’s how it was explained to me,” he said.
Another version of that rumor claims that Lapins withdrew his candidacy and agreed to support Fallon under the condition that 2009 council candidate Patrick Barry would be appointed to fill the council vacancy. Barry, a banker and president of the Pinehurst Business Guild, finished fourth in the election, behind Dawson.
Lapins commented on the rumors via e-mail Thursday.
“Those rumors are apparently being generated by petty, small-minded people who seem to have nothing more productive to do than promote their own agenda — whatever it may be — by creating controversy and conflict,” he wrote. “I reject any inference of unethical actions and choose not to lower myself to their level by responding to them.”
Fallon rejected the notion that she was involved in any such agreement.
“I don’t like deals,” she said. “I was not part of any deal, I can tell you that.”
Contact John Krahnert III at (910) 693-2473 or by e-mail at email@example.com
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