Guilford County Commissioner James Upchurch dropped a bombshell on Guilford County residents and his fellow county commissioners when he announced on Monday, Oct. 2 that he was stepping down from his District 6 commissioners seat.
He told the Rhino Times shortly after that announcement that he was leaving to take a new job in another state that was too enticing and lucrative to turn down.
Upchurch said he didn’t want to give specifics of the job or even name the state in which he would be working, but he did say the new job has a connection to politics and that it would be much more lucrative than remaining on the Board of Commissioners.
Though Upchurch didn’t name the state, several sources in Guilford County government told the Rhino Times that Upchurch’s new job would be in Georgia.
Upchurch said he had faced death threats and other harassment while serving as a Guilford County commissioner and he did not want any of his detractors working to sabotage this opportunity – which is why he is remaining vague about it for now, he said.
He also said some of the vitriol he has received as a commissioner came from the fact that he ran as a Democrat and then switched his party affiliation to Republican.
Upchurch said in his new job he will be working with both parties.
“I will have an opportunity on the state level to shape policy and, on the local level, to create more transparency in local governments,” he said.
He added that, really, the job is almost two jobs in one – part of the job is “public facing,” that will be high profile, while another part will be something that most people would not even realize he was doing.
He said it was a great opportunity to help make government more transparent.
“Plus, I’ll be making a lot more money,” he said, adding that it will mean a 500 percent pay increase.
When asked if he meant 500 percent of his commissioners salary, he said that was correct.
Given the roughly $31,200 a year that county commissioners make, that puts him in the $150,000 range for his new occupation.