SMITHFIELD – Monday night was the final meeting for Chairman Chad Stewart as a Johnston County Commissioner. Stewart announced last month he was stepping down effective Nov. 30, 2021, a full year before his four-year term expired in Dec. 2022.
Two weeks ago, commissioners agreed to accept applications to fill the vacancy and three people applied: Richard “Dickie” Braswell of Princeton, Gary Wayne Lee of Four Oaks, and Ralph Stewart of Four Oaks.
At the end of tonight’s meeting, Commissioner Ted Godwin said the three candidates had been interviewed and the board received input from the Johnston County Republican Party.
Commissioners and the Republican Party agreed that all three candidates were qualified to fill the vacancy, however, the experience Mr. Braswell had with infrastructure, specifically water and sewer infrastructure, made him stand out.
In a motion by Commissioner Fred Smith, and seconded by Commissioner Godwin, the board voted unanimously to appoint “Dickie” Braswell to the District 1 seat.
County Attorney Jennifer Slusser recommended Mr. Braswell take his Oath as early as December 1st. The next regularly scheduled commission meeting is December 6th. At that meeting, the board will select a new chairman and vice chairman for 2022.
By being sworn in prior to the meeting, Mr. Braswell will be ready to serve as soon as the meeting begins, Slusser stated.
Mr. Braswell ran against Mr. Stewart in the 2018 Republican Primary and lost by less than two dozen votes. Braswell has already announced he would file for election to the District 1 seat in 2022.