Haney Bids Farewell; SP Council Appoints Fields
After 14 years of public service — the first 10 as a council member and the past four as mayor — Mike Haney bade an emotional farewell Tuesday night
“I want to thank the citizens of this town for entrusting me with this office. It’s been an honor and a privilege,” Haney said Tuesday at the monthly town council meeting.
Haney, who choked up several times while unsuccessfully fighting back tears, also thanked his fellow council members, the town staff, his adversaries and his family, especially wife Carol.
“It’s just amazing to work with such fine people,” he said.
Haney was presented with the customary retirement putter, a photograph of the train depot, a resolution declaring today “Mike Haney Day” in Southern Pines and given the honorary title of “Town Ambassador.”
David McNeill, who defeated fellow council member Chris Smithson in last month’s mayoral race, was sworn in, as was new council member Jim Simeon.
Mike Fields, a former mayor who did not seek re-election to the council, also received a putter for his almost three years of service. Fields was appointed to the seat vacated by Abigail Dowd and then re-elected two years ago to fill the final two years of Dowd’s four-year term.
“The highlight of my civic service has come on the Southern Pines Town Council,” Fields said.
Fields hardly had time to take a few practice strokes with his new putter when, as expected, he was nominated to serve the final two years of the seat vacated by McNeill. There were no other nominations, although council member Chris Smithson lamented the fact that the council did not conduct a more open search.
“My problem is the process, not the person,” Smithson said. “I want to make it clear that I support Mike Fields.”
The council was only required by state law to fill the position. There was no mandated process.
“I think we’re very fortunate to have someone like Mr. Fields to step forward again,” McNeill said. “I think it’s very clear that the citizens of Southern Pines know what they’re getting.”
Fields was sworn in again and reappointed mayor pro tem.
More details about the meeting will appear in the Friday edition of The Pilot,
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