Commissioner Jeff Carver has taken over as chairman of the Johnston County Board of Commissioners after the departure of the previous leadership. Carver, a banker who lives in Clayton, was unopposed in his reelection bid for the county’s District 1 seat on the board. Commissioner Ted Godwin takes over as vice chairman after successfully defending his District 2 seat.
The board of commissioners elected its new leadership at its December meeting following last month’s election. New to the board are Commissioners Larry Wood of the southern District 4 and Keith Branch of District 6, which includes Smithfield and Pine Level. Both Republicans, neither Branch nor Wood faced a Democratic challenger in the November election. Previous chairman Tony Braswell and vice chairman DeVan Barbour retired from the board after last month’s meeting.
“I do make a few promises: I will make mistakes, I guarantee it,” Carver said of his election as board chairman. “But I will ask for and listen to your constant feedback, strive to achieve what is best for the citizens of Johnston County ... keep my eyes on the horizon for a long-term approach, preserve and protect the assets of the county, recognizing they’re not our assets but the citizens’ assets. And I do promise to work hard. I’m very proud to be your chairman and humbled by your support.”
Carver previously served as chairman, most recently in 2013.
Godwin is entering his second term on the board and his first year as one of the top two commissioners.
“It does represent a difference for me, not only a different place of seating, but a different role on the board, and I look forward to that,” Godwin said. “I’m going to miss the two guys that we lost, that retired. I look forward to working with our new guys.”
Quoting something he said he heard Branch say earlier that morning, Godwin said: “Black is black and white is white, and right is right and wrong is wrong.’ If there’s ever a gray area, I’ll always err on the side of the taxpayer.”
Newly retired state representative J.H. Langdon, who served on the Johnston County Board of Commissioners en route to the N.C. House, stopped by the meeting to offer some kernels of wisdom to the board.
“I got the opportunity when serving in the North Carolina House to see how other counties do things, and I want you to know this is a good one,” Landgon said of Johnston County.