A Wayne Community College associate vice president and a nurse practitioner applied for appointment to the Goldsboro City Council District 5 seat.
Council is seeking to appoint someone to the seat after Mayor David Ham, who previously represented District 5, was sworn into office as mayor on Sept. 7.
Ham was elected to the council District 5 seat in 2015 and 2019 and appointed mayor by the council after former Mayor Chuck Allen’s resignation this year.
The two applicants seeking council appointment to District 5 are Charles Gaylor IV and Phyllis Merritt-James.
Gaylor, 37, a WCC associate vice president who has lived in Goldsboro 30 years, wrote in his application that Goldsboro residents are his neighbors and he believes together they can be a better city.
He intends to pursue a clean, walkable and livable city for all citizens, regardless of income, race, religion or other demographic characteristics, he said.
Gaylor noted the diversity of District 5 and said the district includes families and businesses on every socioeconomic level.
His priorities for Goldsboro are to address poverty and education.
Gaylor said the city has a disproportionately high percentage of citizens living in poverty, which needs to change, whether it be through economic development initiatives, job training opportunities or increased transportation options.
When it comes to education, Gaylor wrote that Goldsboro needs a comprehensive vision for its children.
“We need to know how they will receive a high-quality education where they will receive their job training and what jobs will be available,” Gaylor wrote. “This vision must become a reality if we are to retain our families, our talent, and our place in the state economy.”
Gaylor holds a juris doctor degree from Elon University, a master’s in business administration from Campbell University, a bachelor’s degree in textile technology and a bachelor’s degree in textile and apparel management from North Carolina State University.
Merritt-James, 55, is a nurse practitioner with North Carolina Nephrology, in Raleigh, and she has lived in Goldsboro 43 years, according to her application.
She said her role, if appointed to City Council, is to listen, analyze and have an awareness of the needs of the city and citizens as a whole.
Merritt-James also said the role of the City Council is to write the vision for the city, which directs the work of the city manager.
She said her priorities include access to health care, transportation and housing.
“We have a deficit in health care providers and healthy communities equals more productive communities. We need to help link agencies together to close the gap, query why providers leave (and) what could bring them to stay.”
Merritt-James wrote that the city has limited bus schedules and no transportation options after hours for factory workers.
She also said she can offer a lot in service to city residents, including those living in District 5.
Merritt-James is a graduate of Goldsboro High School, and holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the School of Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a master’s degree in nursing from the School of Nursing at East Carolina University. She also completed family nurse practitioner training at UNC-Chapel Hill, according to her application.
Merritt-James and Gaylor were not available for comment Monday.
This is the third time this year the council has moved to fill vacant seats on the seven-member City Council.
In February, Councilwoman Hiawatha Jones was appointed by the council to District 1. Jones was appointed to fill the seat of Antonio Williams, who resigned after being elected to the Wayne County Board of Commissioners. Ham’s appointment followed in August.
The council’s District 5 appointment process is expected to be finalized in October.
On Oct. 4, Merritt-James and Gaylor are expected to give presentations to the council on why they should be appointed to the seat.
The council could appoint a District 5 representative during its Oct. 18 meeting.