12/08/04 — Duplin Democratic chairman asked to resign

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Duplin Democratic chairman asked to resign

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on December 8, 2004 1:59 PM

KENANSVILLE -- Bob Kornegay has called for the resignation of the Duplin Democratic Party chairman.

He told the Duplin County Board of Education Tuesday night he wants to know why Democratic Party Chairman Jesse Williams ignored the wishes of the District 2 precincts in appointing Johnni Blackwell-Fennell to the board.

Ms. Blackwell-Fennell took the oath of office during the school board meeting Tuesday night along with newcomer Willie H. Gillespie Jr. and incumbent school board members Reginald Kenan and Hubert E. Bowden.

The board of education is a partisan board. The seat Ms. Blackwell-Fennell filled was left vacant by Jeff Miller, a Democrat. That required the Democratic Executive Committee to find a replacement.

Kornegay said his complaint is with the way the replacement was made. He told the Board of Education during the public comment portion of the meeting that he had come to request a delay in the swearing-in ceremony, which was conducted by Clerk of Court Katie Harrell. Public comment came after the swearing-in ceremony on the agenda.

Kornegay said he felt the Democratic Party chairman's procedure in the appointment process was inappropriate, and he has filed a grievance with the state Democratic Party.

"There were numerous attempts to get a formal recommendation from the District 2 precincts," said Kornegay, who is chairman of the Glissom Precinct and a former party chairman. "He never considered what the precinct officers were after."

He said what Jesse Willliams did was the most divisive thing he has seen since he has been active with the Democratic Party. He said it disturbs him that it has happened.

"To me a recommendation from the district affected would carry a lot of weight," he said. "I'm calling for the Democratic Party chairman to resign."

After the public comment, the board of education elected a new chairman and vice chairman. Board member Emily Manning of District 3 is the new chairman, and Reginald Kenan of District 5 is the new vice chairman.