Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston got that job in early December of last year when his fellow county commissioners voted him into it.
Three months and one commissioners retreat later, it’s clear that Alston has a very ambitious vision for Guilford County government – one that some county residents will love and others will not.
The board used a Thursday, March 4 and Friday, March 5 annual Board of Commissioners retreat at Forest Oaks Country Club to discern its priority projects and make plans for 2021.
This is Alston’s sixth term as chairman and he’s already made some major moves. He stated that county citizens can expect big changes from a government that’s already dramatically different than it has been since 2012 – when the Democrats were defeated and the Guilford County Board of Commissioners fell under the control of a Republican majority.
Those days are now over. The Democrats are back in control and Alston has wasted no time shaking things up.
Even though he was only elected chairman in December of last year, Alston has already orchestrated the forced exit of former County Manager Marty Lawing, the recruitment and hiring of former Guilford County Budget Director Mike Halford as the new county manager, a $7 million incentive grant for the City of High Point, and the start of countywide meetings with city and town mayors – something Alston says will now be a regular occurrence.
At the Guilford County Board of Commissioners retreat, Alston made it clear that he has much more in store for the county in the coming months. One large project he’s pushing staff on is the design and construction of a new headquarters for the Sheriff’s Department. Alston told staff, “It’s been moving in slow motion.”
The chairman is also planning another giant school bond referendum on an upcoming ballot and says he wants to right many of the wrongs that occurred under Republican rule from 2012 to 2020.
After the first day of the retreat on Thursday, while there was still daylight, Alston did get to take some time off from reshaping county government to engage in one of his favorite pastimes, hitting the driving range. Above, he can be seen grabbing his clubs from his fastest car in the Forest Oaks Country Club parking lot.
When asked, Alston said he hadn’t played golf against former Republican Guilford County Commissioner Billy Yow in years, but he said he’s still confident he would be able to beat Yow.
“Billy can hit the ball a long way – but he hits it into the woods,” Alston said.