Terry Tippett, a 2020 candidate for the Johnston County Public School Board and a finalist for the board seat created by the January 2021 resignation of Tracie Zukowski, issued a statement Thursday congratulating Al Byrd of Clayton who was appointed Wednesday to the vacant seat.
Many of Mr. Tippett’s supporters thought he should have been appointed to the seat after his strong finish in the November elections. Tippett finished in fifth place with more than 40,000 votes. There were four seats up for election.
Tippett released the following statement to Johnston County Report:
I cannot say that the decision from the (Board of Education) BOE in finalizing the appointment surprised me. I appreciate the support from Ronald Johnson and the stakeholders throughout the process. There are three different issues that I see from my perspective. First, I want to publically congratulate Al Byrd for his selection. I especially like his work through the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and that impact with young people. Hopefully, he can push that organization more in our school system.
As I have stated, I believe a seat of the people should have representatives who have been vetted by the voter. People have accused me for not questioning the process before selections were made, which shows they simply are not paying attention to facts. I have NEVER questioned the process set forth by (Todd) Sutton and (Terri) Sessoms, as the Chair and Vice Chair. In fact, I have stated their right to establish the process. I have questioned the criteria for selection and the difference from 2017, which cannot be done until AFTER the selection is made. Yes, if you are honest you will see the situation is the same.
Second, the manner the seat became vacant is separate from the filling of the seat. The Zukowski situation is something I have no facts to make a statement on at this time. People will form their opinions based on things they see. As I stated, for the BOE to move forward from this issue, someone within the county, not within the BOE should look at the situation.
Finally, all this should not shed a negative light on Al Byrd. He has done nothing wrong. He simply followed the guidelines laid out by Sutton and Sessoms, as all the applicants did. If you are not happy with the difference in criteria used from Sutton’s 2017 appointment to what was used in this vacancy-your criticism should be directed at the leadership of the BOE and not Al Byrd.
I realize people have a right to their opinion and we all want to feel as if we are treated fairly. I also realize fairness is in the eye of the individual and relationships within the individual. I have never asked anyone to agree with me, but I will always stand for what I believe in and in what I believe is in the best interest of those I care about. I will support or oppose you based on what you say and do, not who you are, or who your friends are. I look forward to another campaign in 2022 for the BOE and the chance to again listen to the stakeholders and their concerns and how we can make JCPS the best in the state. In the meantime, I look forward to sharing some initiatives with people interested in my input. We will then see if enough of the stakeholders in Johnston County want me as their voice and in one of their seats in 2022.
On Feb. 20th, Mr. Tippett called for the resignation of Chairman Sutton saying his actions were hypocritical.