In an unexpected announcement, at the end of Monday night’s town council meeting, Garner Mayor Ronnie Williams said he would run for re-election this fall.
The filing period for municipal elections begins July 6.
“We’re within sixty days of filing for office and what may come as a surprise to some of y’all, I’m running for re-election,” Williams said. “Is that a surprise? My fourth term.”
Williams has served as mayor of Garner since 2005. Of the 12 municipalities in Wake County, Williams is the fifth-longest serving mayor.
Prior to being elected mayor, he served as an alderman for 20 years, from 1985 to 2005.
“When I first ran for mayor in 2005 I promised the citizens of Garner I would be a full-time mayor,” Williams said in an interview. “Many of my days begin at seven in the morning and end at 10 at night.”
Ken Marshburn, Jackie Johns and Buck Kennedy’s terms as council members will also expire this fall. Kennedy said that he “likely will” file for re-election, as did Marshburn.
“I’m pretty excited about things going on in the town,” Marshburn said. “I’d love to do another term and continue to do some of the work we started.”
Johns said that he definitely plans to file for re-election. He has served on the council for almost 32 years.
The current council members have served together for eight years.
Former chief laid to rest
Retired Chapel Hill Police Chief Ralph V. Pendergraph Sr. was buried Thursday in Pittsboro after a short bout with pancreatic cancer. He was 70 years old.
Pendergraph served in the police department for 28 years – eight as chief – before retiring in 2000. He is survived by his wife, Toni Pendergraph, a son, daughter and four grandchildren.
The Orange County native spent very little time behind his desk, friends said. Instead, he would drop in on officers – asking about families and pets – or stop to chat with people in the community.
He started a community policing program and officer training academy, modernized the agency and dismantled the old Public Safety Department that included police and fire. He led a campaign to root out a growing crack cocaine trade and drug activity downtown.
Pendergraph was “the perfect police chief for Chapel Hill,” former chief Gregg Jarvies said.
“He recognized the need to be a law enforcement officer, but he also taught us only about 5 percent is enforcing the law,” Jarvies said. “The other 95 percent is getting to know people and understanding your community.”
Budget adjustments needed
Wake County school board members are publicly acknowledging they may not get the $48.3 million increase in local funding they want this year.
This week, the school board approved a $1.4 billion operating budget for the 2015-16 fiscal year that includes a request for $389.8 million from the Wake County Board of Commissioners – a 14 percent increase. The majority of the additional $48.3 million would go toward pay raises for all 18,000 school employees.
“In reality, we’re going to have to come back and make some adjustments,” school board member Jim Martin said during this week’s budget work session. “We’re not going to get everything we asked for.”
The district’s request now goes to commissioners, who had pledged during last fall’s election campaign to raise school funding. The next step is May 18 when County Manager Jim Hartmann presents his proposed county budget, including the amount he recommends giving to the school board.
Compiled by Jonathan Alexander, Tammy Grubb and T. Keung Hui.
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