12/30/12 — Board could soon name successor to J.D. Evans

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Board could soon name successor to J.D. Evans

By Steve Herring
Published in News on December 30, 2012 1:50 AM

The executive committee of the Wayne County Democratic Party is hoping, by Friday, to be able to recommend a person to serve the first two years of the unexpired four-year term of J.D. Evans who died earlier this month.

The committee is scheduled to meet Friday at 4 p.m. at the party headquarters in downtown Goldsboro. The meeting is not open to the public.

Commissioners, however, have the ultimate responsibility to appoint Evans' successor, and the state's Open Meeting Law requires that all discussion and final action be taken during open session. Wayne County is one of the state's 58 counties in which county commissioners are not required to follow the committee's recommendation.

"I don't believe they have to appoint the person," said party Chairman Stephanie Kornegay of Mount Olive. "We are entitled to make the recommendation. I have not read that they have to. I am of the understanding that they don't have to. We hope that they will respect our recommendation. But they don't actually have to as far as I am aware.

"We will move fairly quickly according to the rules of the Democratic Party. We will go through the process, and I feel fairly certain we will come up with a recommendation. That is our time frame that we are shooting for."

Evans, who had served as Wayne County commissioner representing District 2 for 12 years, died Dec. 18 two weeks after being sworn into office after being re-elected in November.

Evans' health had been failing for some time. He was stricken with cancer and underwent brain surgery in April. He was recovering but became dehydrated in recent months, forcing an extended hospital stay.

Since the vacancy is within the first two years of a four-year term, the appointment will run only to the 2014 general election when an election will be held to fill the remainder of the unexpired term, said Gary Bartlett, executive director of the state Board of Elections.

District 2 comprises south-central Wayne County from the Duplin County line into southeast and southwest Goldsboro. All of Mount Olive is in the district, save for a small section in the southwest section that is in District 4.

Even though District 2 was carved to create a minority district there is no requirement that the nominee or person appointed be a minority. However, the person must be a Democrat and must live in District 2.

The only way to be considered for the opening is to be nominated by a member of the committee, Ms. Kornegay said.

"They just can't call me and say, 'Stephanie put up my name,'" she said. "It would be great to get a unanimous vote, but it does not have to be unanimous.

"As soon we know who it is I am going to prepare a letter to send it to the county commissioners, just so they know they have our recommendation."