Willis takes seat on county commission
BAKERSVILLE – Jacob Warren Willis was sworn in as a Mitchell County commissioner July 11 during the board’s regular meeting.
Willis, who came in second behind Danny Burleson in the March Republican primary, replaces Joe Street, who has moved with his family to Georgia. Street left the board at the end of June after the budget for the new fiscal year was approved.
Burleson replaced Bill Slagle, who resigned from the board in May to focus on his job with the state’s economic development partnership. Current Commissioner Keith Holtsclaw’s term expires at the end of the year.
He did not seek re-election and the vacancy that will be left by his departure will have to be filled by board appointment, which means a majority of the five-member board will have turned over in the course of half a year.
Technically, the appointment made after Holtsclaw steps down will fill Slagle’s unexpired seat, which isn’t up for election until 2018.
There is a chance a Democrat could end up on the board. Bruce Koran will be on the ballot in November as the Mitchell County Democratic Party’s choice to replace Slagle’s unexpired term. But he will have to get more votes than one of the three Republicans – Hollifield, Burleson and Willis – who will be on the ballot, an unlikely scenario in a Republican dominated county.
After being sworn in, Willis said he looks forward to working with the board to move the county forward. Board Chairman Vern Grindstaff said he is convinced the new makeup of the board will be good for the county.