Triangle Politics: A weekly look at the local political scene

TriPol: Tie broken, Grimes wins Siler City mayor's race

Staff writersNovember 15, 2013 

John Grimes won Siler City’s race for mayor on Tuesday after five outstanding ballots broke the tie between him and his opponent, city commissioner Thomas “Chip” Price III.

Grimes and Price tied last week with 288 votes each. The Chatham County Board of Elections opened three provisional and two late absentee ballots last Friday and certified the winner Tuesday. Four of those votes went to Grimes, and one to Price.

“I was happy to win,” Grimes said. “It’s kind of like when you play football, and you’re tied until the last two minutes, and then you win.”

Grimes said his “No. 1 priority” as mayor is to develop a 1,774-acre privately owned parcel of land northwest of Siler City into an industrial megasite to create much-needed jobs for the area.

Price said he thinks Grimes will do a “fine job” as mayor, and both men share a desire to develop the megasite.

Price called the election an “exciting race” that really magnified the old phrase “every vote counts.”

Wake taking manager applications

The Wake County Board of Commissioners officially began taking applications Friday to fill the job of retiring County Manager David Cooke.

A consulting firm hired to help with the nationwide search for Cooke’s replacement put an ad online, looking for a candidate who has “exceptional administrative, communication, interpersonal and relationship-building skills, as well as the proven ability to provide strong leadership and direction.” The ad says the county wants someone with a command of budget and finance who is politically astute and team-oriented. Salary is based on qualifications.

Joe Bryan, the commissioners chairman, often refers to Cooke as the “the best county manager in America.” He said Friday that he would miss Cooke but looks forward to “a time of new beginnings.”

Cooke, who has held the job since 2000, will retire at the end of November. His last official board meeting will be at 2 p.m. Monday in the Wake County Justice Center. Commissioners will recognize his work for the county and will name an interim manager during the meeting.

The board will accept applications for the job through Dec. 20. The consulting firm will interview candidates in early January and suggest finalists later that month. The board will interview those candidates in February and hopes to have a new manager in place by March, in time to prepare next year’s budget.

City gives woman $312 over garden

The Raleigh City Council recently voted to give $312 to a resident who says her garden was “destroyed” by a city street paving project.

Marylee Crofts, who lives on Latimer Road near North Hills, brought the council a dead dianthus plant this month. Crofts said the paving work left bits of asphalt and concrete in her garden; the “fragile” plants died a short time later.

“I would like the City Council to instruct Barnhill (the city’s paving contractor) to recompense me for this loss,” Crofts said, noting that a garden center quoted the replacement cost at $312.

Interim City Manager Perry James said city staff determined that much of the garden lies in the city street right of way – not on Crofts’ property.

Still, the council voted unanimously to allocate the $312 from the council’s contingency fund; the city will ask Barnhill to cover the damages.

Political events

• Wake County Board of Commissioners Chairman Joe Bryan will deliver the State of the County address at the commissioners’ meeting at 2 p.m. Monday in Room 2700 at the Wake County Justice Center, 300 S. Salisbury St. in Raleigh. Bryan will highlight achievements and progress made on commissioners’ goals and priorities.

• Dan Rearick, director of Unite North Carolina, will speak on immigration reform at the meeting of Wake County Senior Democrats on Wednesday at the Crabtree Marriott Hotel on Glenwood Avenue. A dutch lunch will be at 11 a.m. with the program following.

• Consultants hired by Orange County will hold two public meetings to hear what residents want in a replacement for County Manager Frank Clifton, who retired in September. The meetings will take place Wednesday at the Southern Human Services Center, 2501 Homestead Road in Chapel Hill, and Nov. 26 at the Orange County Library, 137 W. Margaret Lane in Hillsborough. Both meetings will run from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Information: Call John Anzivino, senior vice president of Springsted Inc., at 804-726-9750.

• N.C. State University professor Hiller Spires and two representatives of the Wake County school district will take part in a forum on “Common Core State Standards – Perspectives from Educators” at the Timely Topics brown bag lunch of the League of Women Voters of Wake County. The meeting will be at Founders’ Hall, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh, 3313 Wade Ave., at noon Friday. For information, visit www.lwvwake.org or call 919-783-5995.

• Katherine Restrepo of the John Locke Foundation and George Lipscomb, Wake GOP precinct officials coordinator, will speak to the Wake County Republican Women’s Club on Thursday at the N.C. State University Club, 4200 Hillsborough St. Restrepo will speak on “the redistribution of health care,” and Lipscomb about organization for elections. The social begins at 11:30 a.m., and the lunch/program begins at 11:45 a.m. Lunch is $19 at the door. Pay by mail, P.O. Box 30454, Raleigh 27622, or online at www.wakerepublicanwomen.org. Make reservations by emailing 1wcrwc@gmail.com. The deadline is Monday.

Got a tip, item or coming event? Fax Triangle Politics at 919-829-4529, or send email to metroeds@newsobserver.com. Send items by noon Thursday.

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