In the early years of this century, it often took an hour or more of debate to determine who would be the chair of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners.
However, on Thursday, Dec. 2, the board took less than 60 seconds to nominate Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Skip Alston and to vote to give Alston, a Democrat, another dozen months in that position.
Democratic Commissioner Carlvena Foster, the vice chair of the board, said Alston had done an admirable job of leading the county during the time of COVID-19 and many other challenges, and she added that the board had adopted a balanced budget in June with Alston’s guidance.
“I will continue to do my best as chairman – but it really takes a team,” Alston said as part of his very brief comments.
The board’s two Republicans – Commissioners Alan Perdue and Justin Conrad – voted in favor of Alston getting another year in the job, as did most of the Democrats. The sole no vote came from Democratic Commissioner James Upchurch, who didn’t state a reason why he was the odd man out on the decision.
Democratic Commissioner Mary Beth Murphy then nominated Foster, the 2021 vice chairman, for that job once again.
Foster was selected by a unanimous vote of the board.
This marks Alston’s seventh stint as chairman.
Conrad said earlier in the year that, while he didn’t agree with Alston politically on a wide variety of issues, Alston had been fair as chairman, and had kept the Republicans informed on important matters.
The decisions on Alston and Foster were obviously made well before the Dec. 2 meeting took place. That has been the rule in recent years, however, in the early 2000’s the board would sometimes have to recess the meeting to do some heavy duty horse-trading before deciding on a chair and vice chair.