12/08/11 — Mayo takes place on commission; Anderson retires

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Mayo takes place on commission; Anderson retires

By Steve Herring
Published in News on December 8, 2011 1:46 PM

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Ray Mayo, left, speaks to Wayne County commissioners Tuesday morning just prior to being sworn in as the new commissioner from District 1 replacing veteran Commissioner Andy Anderson, who has resigned. With Mayo were, from left to right, his wife, Janice, their son, Steve, and daughter-in-law, Tracy Mayo.

Surrounded by his wife, son and daughter-in-law, Ray Mayo took the oath of office Tuesday to become the new Wayne County commissioner for District 1, which encompasses most of the northern part of the county.

Seated in the audience behind Mayo, retiring Commissioner Andy Anderson and his wife watched the proceedings.

Just minutes before, the audience at the commissioners' meeting broke into laughter as Anderson, 76, hesitated momentarily before joining in with his fellow commissioners in raising his hand to vote for the motion to accept his resignation.

Anderson's retirement ends his 19-year career on the commission. He was the first Republican elected to the board since Reconstruction.

Anderson announced his intention to step down last month and recommended Mayo, the owner of North Carolina Manufacturing, a Goldsboro machine shop, as his replacement. The executive committee of the Wayne County Republican Party agreed and commissioners in mid-November appointed Mayo contingent on Anderson's resignation.

In a letter announcing his planned resignation, Anderson cited a need to spend more time with his family, work on special projects to benefit the county and to "preserve" his health. Anderson has said he was not referring to any specific health problems other than just aches and pains and the strain of being constantly busy.

Mayo's first acts on the board were to nominate fellow Republican Steve Keen first for chairman then vice chairman. He lost both bids 2-4 with John Bell elected chairman by a 4-2 vote and Dr. Sandra McCullen, vice chairman, 4-2. All of the votes were along party lines.

Commissioner Jack Best was sick and did not attend the meeting.

Outgoing Chairman J.D. Evans welcomed Mayo and also thanked Anderson for his service and asked that Anderson "stay with us."

Those sentiments were echoed by the other board members.

Anderson's replacement said he is honored to serve.

"I just wanted to thank Mr. Anderson for his service, of course, and to my family," Mayo said. "I am looking forward to working with the commissioners for the benefit of Wayne County.

"I firmly believe that God has put me here for a reason, and I want to do my best to serve the people of District 1 and Wayne County."

While the mood of the morning's comments was mostly congratulations and welcome, there were some comments directed at partisan politics. Bob Jackson, chairman of the county's Republican Party, chided commissioners for never electing Anderson to serve as chairman.

"I believe it is very unfortunate that Mr. Anderson has served on this board for 19 years and has never been invited to serve as its chairman or vice chairman," Jackson said. "I believe there are times when we need to reach out to those who are in the minority, in any respect, whether it be on boards or other things.

"I hope you will see the need and the benefit to be all-inclusive and to include those who might be in the minority on this board."

Anderson joked that it was time for him to "ride off into the sunset," but that while he would miss the board that he would still be a part of the community.

"Today I will not try to dig too deep, but simply say farewell to everyone and hopefully pay respects to all of our Wayne County citizens," Anderson said. He also noted the need for commissioners to put party politics aside and work together for the betterment of the county.

"If this county is to continue prospering we must put aside our political differences and put our citizens and nation as first priority," he said. "I believe this current board has gone a long way toward this goal. My hat is off to them."