It's Time to Fill Robbins Vacancy
There’s been a vacant seat at the Robbins town table for far too long. Nobody resigned. The seat opened when a commissioner moved out of town and lost her eligibility — but that was months ago. State law says the town “shall” fill the seat, so why hasn’t it happened?
Newly elected Mayor Lonnie English currently holds a tie-breaking vote between cousins Terri Holt and Kevin Stewart on one side over Joey Boswell and Mayor Pro Tem Rocky Davis on the other — at least where any controversial questions must be decided. He’s showing little or no eagerness to surrender that power and tends to side with Holt and Stewart so far.
Town rules require that board members — in a formal vote at one meeting — first announce their intention to fill the vacancy at a forthcoming session. Their announcement is advertised and posted on the Town Hall door. Legal residents of Robbins then have an opportunity to apply to the board for selection.
Many Possible Candidates
There are more than a few qualified and experienced Robbins men and women who merit consideration. Former mayors and council members could bring a wealth of experience and wisdom to the aid of their hard-pressed successors. Division on the present council could benefit from the perspectives that a fresh voice might offer.
A new commissioner should have been seated right away, but that didn’t happen. At the last board meeting, when time came to pass the formal intention announcement, Stewart moved to table it to the September session, and that’s what happened.
Stewart said he needed time to study the question. Their announcement vote will be on the agenda for this month’s meeting, with a new commissioner presumably to be named in October. Maybe they will act now, maybe they will put it off again and shove the choice off to November or later. Postponement is the wrong path. This should have been done already.
Board Has Its Hands Full
Robbins has been struggling mightily over the past few years since losing so much industry and so many jobs. These are hardly prosperous times, and every small-town council these days has much to do and little to do it with. In Robbins, Jeff Sheffield is doing double duty as both police chief and interim town manager — for a pittance of extra pay — while the Town Board mulls over applicants for one of his jobs.
Robbins has earned everybody’s respect in the past. It rolled up its sleeves years go, changing the town charter and bending to the task of stimulating its own economy. Robbins won one of the coveted first NC STEP slots and worked on that three-year experiment. It got state money so a new nonprofit foundation could buy the Village Theater, with help from generous donors, and start work bringing it to life as an entertainment attraction.
The current board is busy building the town’s first real fire station. It is drilling test wells in a search for better sources of water than buying it from another county. The mayor and others are working on a cleanup of the old Robbins Mill site, seeking grants to pay the cost.
Bravo for all that. But why play ball without a full team?
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