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One Lancaster County Council member broke ranks Thursday night, Jan. 3, as she opposed the nominations for two of council’s three leadership positions.
Councilwoman Charlene McGriff cast the lone dissenting vote during council’s organizational meeting, where new and re-elected members take the oath of office and council officers are chosen.
McGriff opposed the nominations of councilmen Larry McCullough for chairman and Bob Bundy for vice-chairman.
The voting process for council’s three leadership positions, which also includes secretary, came minutes after McCullough, Bundy, Brian Carnes and Steve Harper all took the oath of office.
County Attorney Mike Ey moderated the election process and opened the floor for nominations. Councilman Jack Estridge then began by nominating McCullough for chairman, though no other nominations were made.
Council members then voted to approve the nomination, by a vote of 5-1, with McGriff dissenting. Councilman Larry Honeycutt was not at the meeting.
Moving on to the vice-chairman position, Harper nominated fellow newcomer Bundy. No other nominations were made.
Council again voted 5-1 to approve Bundy as vice-chair, with McGriff again dissenting.
After the meeting, McGriff discussed her votes, saying she could not vote for McCullough because she was not partial to his leadership style.
“With Larry, we don’t agree on the same leadership style. His style is more corporate America and we are a small, rural county. He knew I wasn’t going to vote for him,” McGriff said. “Now he’s chair and I’ll follow his leadership and we’ll work it out as a board, but I have made sure he understands that we’re going to bump heads on his leadership style. Then maybe he’ll pay more attention.”
As for why she voted against Bundy’s nomination, McGriff said it all comes down to experience.
“I don’t think he should be put in a leadership role with no experience on council,” she said. “He’ll be put in a position to make decisions with no knowledge of the history.”
McGriff also worried what could happen if McCullough is not present and Bundy must instead take the reins.
“He (Bundy) is a smart, intelligent person, but I wasn’t going to vote for him or Larry as chair or vice-chair,” she said.
There were several other appointments made during the organizational meeting.
After opening the floor for secretary nominations, Bundy nominated Estridge for the position. Council then voted 6-0 to approve the nomination.
Before relinquishing the chairman’s seat, where he sat during the meeting, Estridge commented on the nominations. He said if anyone thought he was going to be the new chairman they could “forget it.”
“As the most senior member, I have been sitting in that seat over there for 10 years and I want to keep sitting there,” Estridge said, with a laugh.
With his nameplate in hand, McCullough sat down and assumed his new role.
“It is my pleasure to serve as chairman on County Council for the next two years,” McCullough said.
Council members then unanimously voted to reappoint Ey as county attorney and Debbie Hardin as Clerk to Council. Council also unanimously voted to approve Virginia Burgess as deputy clerk.
Carnes and McCullough were also appointed as board members to the Catawba Regional Council of Governments, while Estridge, Harper and McCullough were all appointed to the Lancaster County Economic Development Corp. board.
The chair, vice-chair and secretary will each serve a two-year term in those offices.
Contact reporter Chris Sardelli at (803) 416-8416