Bryan and Sutton open a new chapter

December 12, 2012 

Are they warmed by the Christmas Spirit? Feeling cozy and fuzzy after being voted to the chairmanships of their respective boards? Or maybe just relaxed from vacation? Whatever the reason for upcoming meetings between Wake County commissioners Chairman Joe Bryan and school board Chairman Keith Sutton, there’s no need to look suspiciously at the peace pipe.

Former commissioners chair Paul Coble was not a peace pipe type. Angered by a new Democratic board majority’s firing of former Superintendent Tony Tata (who’d been hired by the former Republican majority), Coble basically told the school board he wouldn’t favor meetings about a needed bond issue until the board had hired a permanent superintendent and completed an assignment plan. It was a punitive and petulant attitude, vintage Coble.

Bryan, however, a veteran commissioner who’s a Republican but inclined to build bridges to get things done, apparently feels differently. He and Sutton are going to get together to discuss the bond issue, which will be needed to handle 3,000 additional students a year. It will be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Now the two leaders are seeking a way to offer a successful bond. After months of tension, this is a most welcome and constructive development. Progress needs to be made and school board members need to offer input to commissioners on the amount of the bond, getting in return advice on the best strategy to give the bond the best chance for passage. At last, progress is possible.

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