It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas – and it’s also beginning to look a lot like Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Jeff Phillips will be serving a second term as chairman.
Phillips is expected to be reelected chairman on Monday, Dec. 5 when the Board of Commissioners holds a special morning meeting at which many local elected officials who won in the Tuesday, Nov. 8 election will be sworn in to office.
Phillips was coy on the matter when asked this week about serving a second time, but the collective comments of other commissioners and others close to the board left little doubt that Phillips would be reelected chairman.
The board has a 5-to-4 Republican majority and in modern county history the chairman has always been from the majority party, and this year that will be the case as well. The five Republican commissioners are Alan Perdue, Justin Conrad, Hank Henning, Alan Branson and Phillips. Perdue and Conrad have said that, due to their busy schedules, they aren’t interested in being chairman this year, while Henning said he would do it if he “drew the short straw” and “no one else wanted to do it.”
Over the past few weeks, Branson – the current vice chairman of the board and the natural choice to serve next as chairman – has been considering whether he wanted to pursue the job. However, this week he said he wasn’t going to seek the position this year. Branson said he and Phillips had had discussions about the matter in recent days.
“I think he feels he has some things started that he’d like to complete,” Branson said of Phillips.
Phillips, who spent four days vacationing in Washington, DC, over the Thanksgiving holiday, said he was willing to say that this is a critical time for Guilford County government and he added there are areas of focus that he’d like to see continue to be areas of focus. As chairman of the board, Phillips sits on various other boards and committees. He mentioned Say Yes to Education and the Guilford County Economic Development Alliance as two important current initiatives for the county, and he said he would also like to see the Greensboro-Randolph County megasite become a success.
Phillips represents District 5 as a commissioner, a district that includes parts of northwestern Greensboro and northwestern Guilford County as well as most of Summerfield. He was born in Winston-Salem on Sept. 11, 1962 but his family moved around a lot before settling in Oklahoma City, where Phillips eventually went to work for a local newspaper, the Daily Oklahoman.
At the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, Oklahoma, Phillips majored in computer science and minored in business before beginning a career in financial services – including jobs with Prudential, PaineWebber/UBS and Wachovia Securities before he started his own firm – Phillips Wealth Management.
Last December, he became Guilford County’s fourth straight Republican chairman after the Republicans won a majority on the board in 2012 after 14 years of Democratic rule. Phillips won the job on a unanimous vote. However, it was only a 6-to-0 vote after the three black Democrats were no shows at the meeting. The board’s sole white Democrat, Kay Cashion, came to the meeting and voted for Phillips.
Phillips said this week that he does certainly expect Commissioner Ray Trapp, one of those three no-shows, to at least show up for the meeting this year.
“He’s being sworn in,” Phillips said of Trapp, who, like Phillips, just won another term on the board with no opposition.