GARLAND — In November, Garland residents will have a chance to select leaders for the next four years.
The terms of Mayor Winifred Murphy, Mayor Pro-Tem Haywood Johnson, Commissioner S.J. Smith and Commissioner Carolyn Melvin expire this year. The filling period will begin noon Friday, July 7, and end noon, Friday, July 21, at the Sampson County Board of Elections, 120 County Complex Road, Building F, Suite 110, Clinton.
“As long as you’re a registered voter in Sampson County and you live in the municipality in which you’re going to run you don’t have to bring anything,” said Ashley Tew, director of the Sampson County Board of Elections.
In May, Melvin said she planned to leave from the commission. As of early July, she has not submitted an official resignation letter or announced plans to run for another term. She was elected in 2013 and assisted with building maintenance, parks and recreation.
S.J. Smith and Johnson were elected in 2013 and assisted on committees involving safety, streets and cemetery operations. Both candidates have not mentioned intentions to remain on the board. Murphy was elected in 2011 and was appointed as mayor in 2012. She was later elected in 2013. During previous meetings, she hinted that her current term will probably be her last.
In the meantime, the board will work to fill the vacancy of Commissioner Ralph Smith. His term was scheduled to expire in 2019, but the longtime town servant submitted his resignation. While serving as a commissioner, Smith’s duties involved work for the town’s sewer — water system and public works. With more than two decades of service in Garland, Smith also served as mayor.
With two employees leaving, Smith’s decision to leave added to the void. The matter also involved a conflict with a job offered to his relative, who later turned it down.
To the fill Smith’s seat, remaining board members will appoint a resident for the position. Interested candidates are being asked to complete an Interest Statement at town hall, 190 S. Church Ave. It includes questions regarding purpose, committing to monthly meetings an helping out on certain committees such as public works, streets, buildings, recreation and safety. Town officials recently posted notices on their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/thetownofgarland.
“Here is your opportunity to get involved with local government and to make a difference for our town and citizens,” town officials stated on the post. “What is your vision for Garland, for our present citizens and future generations? If you have the time to commit by attending meetings, the time to work on committees, to collaborate by making informed decisions, and can be dedicated to growth and prosperity — this might be your time. Collective, visionary voices, dedication, and commitment will and can make a difference.”
Commissioner Judy Smith is the only member of the five-member board who will remain on the board following the election, scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 7. Her term is set to end in 2019.
For more information about filing or other matters related to elections, contact the Sampson Board of Elections at 910-592-5796.
Four seats in Clinton are up for the upcoming election, including Mayor Lew Starling, District 1 Councilman Steve Stefanovich, Mayor Pro-Tem Marcus Becton of District 3, and Councilman Darue Bryant, recently appointed to the District 5 helm to fill the late Maxine Harris’ unexpired term.
In Newton Grove, Mayor Gerald Darden’s time is set to expire this year along with Commissioners Gary Mac Herring, Teresa Wilson and Steve Jackson. In Roseboro, the terms of Commissioners Anthony Bennett and Cyndi Templin are set to expire.
In Autryville, Mayor Larry Autry’s term will expire this year in addition to two commissioners.
Two alderman seats are available in Harrells and three commissioners seats will be available in Salemburg. In Turkey, residents will have an opportunity to select two new commissioners.