When Guilford County Commissioner James Upchurch announced on Monday, Oct. 2 that he was resigning from the Board of Commissioners, you might think that his exit was prepared for behind the scenes and well-coordinated.
You also might think that his fellow commissioners were aware of the departure but were keeping silent about it until Guilford County sent out a press release at noon Monday.
However, you would be badly mistaken if you thought that. It turns out that most of the commissioners learned about Upchurch’s resignation the same way many others did – by reading a press release.
Even Upchurch’s fellow Republicans on the board were caught completely off guard.
Commissioner Alan Perdue said he had no idea this was coming.
“I learned about it by reading the press release the county sent out,” Perdue said.
That release was sent to the commissioners along with members of the media at 12:01 p.m. on Monday.
Commissioner Pat Tillman also said that he didn’t know about Upchurch’s exit until Monday.
Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Skip Alston said that he’d caught wind of the decision over the weekend. He said he had actually spoken with someone interested in filling the seat before Upchurch made his exit official.
Upchurch said he isn’t sure how Alston knew ahead of time, but said the information probably came from Commissioner Carlvena Foster.
Upchurch said he and Foster were at an event in High Point together on Friday, Sept. 29, and he did mention something to Foster regarding the possibility of a new job and his departure from the Board of Commissioners.
Upchurch said that he waited until everything was wrapped up tight with the new job before telling county staff Monday morning that he was stepping down.
“This all happened very quickly,” he said of the new opportunity, “though it has been on the horizon for a while.”