UNC Board of Governors election recount yields new result

jstancill@newsobserver.comMarch 21, 2013 

A math error resulted in a state House recount, more debate and a partially different result Thursday in the election for eight UNC Board of Governors seats.

G.A. Sywassink, a Hilton Head, S.C., businessman, was elected to the UNC system governing board, according to the new results, instead of Jim Nance of Albemarle, who had been announced as a winner when the vote originally occurred Wednesday.

Rep. Tim Moore, a Kings Mountain Republican, compared Thursday’s laborious ballot recount to the movie “Groundhog Day.”

“We had a math tallying error,” he said, explaining that a number was transposed during the original counting.

The whole process dredged up a partisan spat over the naming of board members. Several Democrats stood in Thursday’s debate to point out that for years when they held the majority, they had elected Republicans to ensure a balanced university board.

This week, Republicans nearly swept the election of half of the board’s 32 seats, replacing current members, many of whom are Democrats. The vote sealed an overwhelming GOP majority on the board, which sets policy for the state’s 17 campuses.

“It’s with a heavy heart that we are losing some good, strong members, and I would contend also some of the fine history of what the Board of Governors has done,” said Deborah Ross, a Raleigh Democrat. “I hope that we take this experience to heart and understand that we are all better, as a state, as a body and in our institutions, when we don’t ignore and shut out the voices of people based on their political affiliation.”

Leaving the board are: John Blackburn, Peaches Gunter Blank, Laura Buffaloe, Walter Davenport, Jim Deal, Phil Dixon, Dudley Flood, Paul Fulton, Franklin McCain, Charles Mercer, Fred Mills, Burley Mitchell, Al Roseman and David Young. Of those, some ran for reappointment, some withdrew their names and some did not seek another term.

Of the 16 newly elected members, 13 are registered Republicans. Two are unaffiliated, and one, Doyle Parrish of Raleigh, is listed by the State Board of Elections as a Democrat. A House pick, Parrish was initially identified as a Republican, at least indirectly, when Moore was asked whether there were any Democrats among Wednesday’s winners, and he replied no.

The new members will join the board July 1 and serve four years.

Besides Sywassink, those elected by the House are: Rodney Hood of Durham, a director at JP Morgan Chase; Henry Williams Hinton of Greenville, president and general manager of Inner Banks Media; W.G. Champion Mitchell of New Bern, a retired attorney and CEO; Laura I. Wiley of High Point, a House member from 2005-2011; R. Doyle Parrish of Raleigh, CEO of Summit Hospitality Group; Roger Aiken of Alexander, who works for Wells Fargo Advisors; and Dr. Joan Templeton Perry of Kinston, a pediatrician.

Those elected by the Senate are: William M. Kotis III of Summerfield, a commercial real estate investor and restaurateur with Kotis Properties Inc.; Scott Lampe of Davidson, vice president and chief financial officer for Hendrick Motorsports; Steven B. Long of Raleigh, a tax attorney and partner with Parker, Poe, Adams & Bernstein; Joan G. MacNeill of Webster, a retired entrepreneur and nurse; Therence O. Pickett of Greensboro, vice president, general counsel and secretary at Volvo Group North America and Mack Trucks Inc.; Robert Sterling Rippy of Wilmington, the owner and president of Jungle Rapids; Harry Leo Smith Jr. of Greenville, chief executive officer of Flanders Corp.; and John Craig Souza of Raleigh, president and chief executive officer of the N.C. Health Care Facilities Association. Souza previously served on the UNC board.

Stancill: 919-829-4559

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service