It was expected that current Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston would be reelected to a ninth year-long term in that position, but as for how everything else went at the commissioners’ Thursday, Dec. 7 meeting of the board, that was about the only thing that went as expected.

Many in the audience were surprised when Vice Chair Carlvena Foster took the center seat on the dais and beside her was an empty seat with Alston’s nametag under it.  Foster announced that Alston would not be at the meeting due to the unexpected passing of his mother.

Alston’s mother had passed away mid-week, which was why Foster was running the board’s first meeting in December, when, each year, the board selects new leadership.

Foster asked for the room to engage in a moment of silent prayer for Alston and his family.

Then Clerk to the Board Robin Keller took control of the meeting and held the elections for the 2024 leadership.

Before the election, Guilford County Attorney Andrea Leslie-Fite explained to the board that it was permissible to elect a chair who was not present as long as he or she had expressed consent to serve.  The attorney stated that it was her understanding that Alston was willing to serve another term as chairman.

Some years early in the century, there were fierce political battles among board members for the positions of chair and vice chair leading up to and during the meeting. However, these days the matter is settled amicably well-before the first December meeting. In years when Alston wants to be chair, which is most years, he gets the job – and this time around was no exception.

After being nominated to the position by Foster, Alston was elected on a unanimous vote, which was 8 to 0 due to Alston’s absence.

Next, Frankie Jones, Jr. nominated Foster to the vice chair position and she was also elected unanimously.