Earlier this month, long-time Haywood County Sheriff Tom Alexander, in a surprise move to many, announced his retirement effective February 2. Since his term expires in 2010, it is up to the county's Democrat Executive Committee to name a replacement.
Local attorney Bill Jones, the county's party chair, along with the executive committee, has set up a process for the Executive Committe to do its job. Potential candidates submitted their resumes to Mr. Jones earlier this week. An open forum will be held Saturday, January 24, for candidates to make their pitches and answer questions from Executive Committee members. Balloting will be held on Saturday, February 7, with each precinct having one vote for every 100 votes cast for Gov. Perdue in November.
The Asheville Citizen-Times listed the following candidates:
-- Albert Allen, a retired N.C. Highway Patrol trooper who lost a bid for sheriff in 2002 to Alexander.
-- Raymond Ezell, a retired U.S. Postal Inspection Service agent.
-- Russell Gilliland, a Maggie Valley Police Department officer.
-- Ken Hollifield, a truck driver for Estes Express Lines in Asheville and former N.C. Highway Patrol trooper.
-- Bobby Suttles, chief deputy of the Haywood County Sheriff's Office.
Those of us who take on precinct chairmanships often do that simply so the roster will be filled out. But this circumstance demonstrates the real responsibility that goes with having one's name on the list. Let's hope that we in Haywood County can fufill our responsibilities faithfully as we make this decision.