Does he or doesn’t he?
That is: Does District 3 Republican Guilford County Commissioner Justin Conrad want to be chairman of the Board of Commissioners for the next 12 months? Conrad, who is now vice chair of the board, has been talking and meeting with commissioners from both parties this week and everyone seems to agree on one thing – the job is Conrad’s if he wants it.
Conrad’s mother just passed away and that is a key consideration in his decision. Being chairman of the Board of Commissioners is time-consuming and, obviously in the wake of his mother’s death, there are a lot of affairs to be handled.
Being chairman includes extra meetings with staff, attending ribbon-cuttings, preparing meeting agendas – and many more obligations as well.
Conrad won reelection to the board in a very close District 3 race. A recount of the election essentially put the board’s chairmanship discussions on hold until now. If Conrad had lost in the recount, the board would have had a Democratic majority, which would have meant a Democratic chairman.
The Board of Commissioners will select its new chairman at a special morning meeting on Monday, Dec. 3.
On Wednesday, Nov. 28, Conrad met with Democratic Commissioner Skip Alston to discuss whether Alston would support him if he does decide to take on the job. Conrad said he’s still struggling with the decision.
“I’ve just got to weigh the considerations,” Conrad said. “It may not be a good time for me to do it right now but I haven’t shut the door.”
Several commissioners said they are waiting to see what Conrad decides. Some commissioners said that, if Conrad didn’t want the job, the next chairman would likely be Commissioner Jeff Phillips and they added that if Conrad did want the job then Phillips would likely be vice-chairman.
Alston said Conrad likely doesn’t need his support if he wants to become chairman. He said Conrad only needs the votes of the five Republicans who constitute a majority of the nine-member board. Still, Alston said, he may vote for Conrad if he seeks the position.
“I told him I would consider it if he’s not going to be strongly partisan and not just say, ‘I have my five votes’ on things, and ignore the Democrats.”
“I’m still debating it,” Alston added.