The Who sang, “Meet the old boss; same as the new boss,” and that song lyric will soon be true for many in Guilford County government.
According to sources on and close to the Guilford County Board of Commissioners, Chairman of the Board Skip Alston will be reelected to that position on Thursday, Dec. 2. This would make it a somewhat astonishing seven times that Alston has held the position that calls many of the shots for the board, has the power to decree emergencies, and largely sets the agenda for the board during the one-year term.
Alston is always cautious going into meetings whenever a chair will be elected because weird things can happen when votes are taken, but Alston, a Democrat, said on Wednesday, Dec. 1, that he has been asking for the job, has gotten a lot of positive feedback, and even expects that the board’s two Republican commissioners – Justin Conrad and Alan Perdue – will vote for him.
In late 2008, Alston worked with former Republican Commissioner Steve Arnold and served as chairman for four straight years with Arnold as his vice-chairman. Almost always, the chair and the vice chair of the board are members of the party that holds a majority on the board. Currently, the Board of Commissioners is ruled by a 7-to-2 Democratic majority.
Alston said this week that he’s looking forward to another term. He’s said many times publicly that these are very trying and special times that have brought a whole new set of challenges to Guilford County government.
The both old and new chairman has big plans for the county in 2022. He’s pushing hard for the county to help pass a $1.7 billion school referendum and pushing along some lingering county initiatives, such as building a new administration facility for the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department.
Last year at this time when Alston was sworn in as the chairman, he noted that, in 1992, when sworn in as a commissioner for the first time, his son was 11 months old. He pointed out, in 2020, that his grandchildren were in the room – one little girl who was “four years old going on 15” and another grandchild who was 6 months old.
Alston also said in that same speech, that being a commissioner has been an important part of his life and said he was very grateful to the people of District 8 who elected him.