Attorney Kris Gardner has been selected as the town’s newest council member.
Gardner, 37, will be sworn in March 25 for the at-large council seat and will serve until December 2015. He will complete the unexpired term of Mark Stohlman who is now Morrisville’s mayor. He plans to seek re-election next year.
Tuesday night’s decision to appoint Gardner was unanimous. He was chosen out of a pool of 15 eligible candidates for his government experience, according to council members.
Gardner, a lawyer with Raleigh firm Tharrington Smith, is a registered lobbyist with the state and represents the town of Enfield in Halifax County and the N.C. Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association. He’s been on Morrisville’s planning and zoning board since 2008.
“I felt he had the community experience. He also had the municipal government experience,” said Councilwoman Vicki Scroggins-Johnson. “He’s also a registered lobbyist which will help Morrisville at the state level. Morrisville has major roads that affect the Triangle and most of them are state roads. That requires state money. That’s an immediate tie-in in my mind and I look to that as an advantage.”
For Stohlman, Gardner’s experience on Morrisville’s planning board is an asset because Morrisville is landlocked between Durham County and Cary, leaving little room for the town to expand its borders.
“We’re going to keep seeing more and more requests for redevelopment and zoning irregularities,” Stohlman said. “With his experience, he’s going to be a good guy to have on the team.”
This isn’t Gardner’s first go-around for a Morrisville council seat. He filed in 2007 for the District 2 seat. But when Stohlman later applied to run for the same seat, Gardner withdrew.
“It’s all come full circle,” joked Gardner. “I’m humbled. It’s a tremendous honor and privilege to serve. I am looking forward to working with the town council members.”
He said his priorities are getting caught up on the budget, which will come up for a vote in the next few months, and transportation.
“The area around town center, around (N.C.) 54 and Morrisville-Carpenter Road, that’s the real problem,” he said. “I live two miles from (town hall) and it took me 20 minutes to get here.”