The controversy over the District 3 seat on the Guilford County Board of Education is far from over.

On Wednesday, Aug. 30, the Guilford County Republican Party Executive Committee once again voted to nominate Michael Logan to fill the seat that, according to state Senate Bill 9 (SB 9), became vacant on the day the bill became law, which was Aug. 17.

On Monday, Sept. 4, Chuck Winfree, an attorney with Adams & Winfree, representing Bill Goebel, sent a letter to the other eight members of the school board stating that Goebel should remain in the District 3 school board seat for the remainder of his term, which ends in December 2024.

Winfree in the letter states, “The shortening of the term for the District 3 seat, even if constitutional, does not create a vacancy in the seat. N.C.G.S. 128-7 provides that ‘All officers shall continue in their respective offices until their successors are elected or appointed, and duly qualified.’ This mirrors Article VI, Section 10 of the North Carolina Constitution, and was undisturbed by SB 9. Consequently, the shortening of the District 3 term emphatically did not create a vacancy. Because there is no vacancy, all of the provisions of Part II of SB 9 that deal with filling a vacancy (Section 2.(a)) do not obtain and are inoperative.”

Winfree also notes that SB 9 does not repeal or limit the application of NCGS 128-6, which states, “Any person who shall, by the proper authority, be admitted and sworn into any office, shall be held, deemed and taken by force of such admission, to be rightfully in such office until, by judicial sentence, upon a proper proceeding, he shall be ousted therefrom, and his admission thereto be, in due course of law, declared void.”

And there has been no judicial ruling holding the appointment as defective.

Winfree also states, “An interpretation of SB 9 that it creates a vacancy would produce an unconstitutional result. Under long established interpretation of the North Carolina Constitution, the General Assembly may not remove a duly appointed and serving office holder before the expiration of his or her established term without due process of law.”

In an interview Winfree said, “There isn’t any question that the legislature can abolish a board completely. The legislature is sovereign and can essentially abolish boards and create new boards. They are pretty much free to do what they want. But they can’t just say that this one person is out.”