01/09/13 — Commissioners pick Cromartie for seat

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Commissioners pick Cromartie for seat

By Steve Herring
Published in News on January 9, 2013 1:46 PM

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Ed Cromartie

Ed Cromartie of Mount Olive will be sworn into office Friday as the newest member of the Wayne County Board of Commissioners.

A retired educator and member of the Mount Olive town board, Cromartie, 66, will serve the first two years of the unexpired four-year term of the late J.D. Evans who died Dec. 18, just two weeks after taking the oath of office.

Cromartie, who was appointed by unanimous vote of county commissioners Tuesday morning, will resign from the town board prior to Friday's swearing-in ceremony.

Commissioner John Bell made the motion to appoint Cromartie effective Friday at noon. There was no discussion, but Chairman Steve Keen did read a letter from Stephanie Kornegay of Mount Olive, chairman of the county Democratic Party.

"Mr. Evans will be tremendously missed for all of the hard work he did for District 2," Ms. Kornegay wrote. "Our committee took the task of recommendation very seriously and believes that we have found a qualified and much-respected representative in Mr. Cromartie for our District 2. He will bring a lot to the table with his experience and knowledge of Mount Olive, Dudley and the southern part of our county."

Cromartie was nominated for the office last Friday by the Wayne County Democratic Party Executive Committee as its unanimous choice to fill the District 2 board seat.

The nomination was non-binding and the final decision was up to commissioners. The appointment was not on the board's Tuesday agenda, but was added during the agenda briefing session held prior to the board meeting.

Cromartie, who was at the meeting, is scheduled to take the oath of office Friday at noon in the commissioners' meeting room on the fourth floor of the county courthouse annex.

"I was real happy that they took the recommendation from the Democratic committee and acted upon it," he said. "That shows they respect the decision of the Democratic nominating committee as they should have, just as if it was a Democratic body fulfilling the wishes of the Republican nominating committee.

"I think that shows a real opportunity for a good spirit. It sends a signal of optimism of working with folk as we move along in the process. I am looking forward to it. I think each day as you move along, you realize the importance of what that body does. It gives the opportunity to get in there and hear the discussions and help the group work for the betterment of the county. It is exciting to be a part of the group. There is important work to be done."

Cromartie, who also serves on the Wayne County Planning Board, was elected in May to the town's District 1 seat.

Since the vacancy occurred within the first two years of Evans' new four-year term, Cromartie will serve two years. He would then have to run in a special election in 2014.

That was one of the committee's considerations, he said.

"My intention is to serve these two and then run for election," Cromartie said. "But that is if I have done a good enough job for the people to want me to run. To me it is going to be contingent on how I feel that I have done. I am not the kind of person to stay somewhere just for the sake of staying somewhere. I believe in letting your work speak for you."

Cromartie is the first Mount Olive resident to serve on the county commission since the 1980s when current Mayor Ray McDonald Sr. was elected prior to the creation of voting districts.

A native of Cumberland County, Cromartie and his wife, Hilda, who is also a retired educator, have lived in Mount Olive since 1986.