The New Hanover County Commission is left to fill another empty seat as former Commissioner Rick Catlin prepares to fill his North Carolina House District 20 seat in January 2013.
The New Hanover County Republican Party will nominate a candidate to the board of commissioners, which can choose to accept or reject the candidate as a replacement for Catlin.
GOP Chairwoman Rhonda Amoroso said the process is similar to the most recent process to fill Ted Davis’ seat, but she does not know the nominating committee’s schedule.
The five committee members signed confidentiality agreements this time around so the names currently being considered are private. The committee met last weekend to discuss the nomination.
“We’re trying to keep the press a little tighter than last time,” Amoroso said during a telephone interview on Monday, Dec. 3. “… It’s really to protect the candidates, too.”
Controversy surrounded the last nomination when local attorney and former planning board chairwoman Melissa Gott’s voter residency was challenged.
Gott, who is now re-registered in the county, first withdrew her objection to the challenge, removing her name from the voter rolls. She later registered at the same address, 602 Chestnut St., during early voting.
“We’re trying just to improve the process so we don’t have a repeat of the last one,” Amoroso said.
The executive committee meeting to nominate a person to fill the two-year term is scheduled for Dec. 13 at 7 p.m., at Jungle Rapids. The next regular commissioners’ meeting is planned for Monday, Dec. 17.
Catlin said he spoke with Amoroso last week.
“I wanted to make sure that they got a recommendation to the commissioners before the following meeting so that we wouldn’t have a vacant seat,” he said. “… I think one of the things that added a week or so to the process is they’re actually going to do a background check on the candidates, which is a good idea.”
Catlin said he has not heard anything about who the candidates on the list are yet.
“It’s a decision of the board that has to work with them for the next two years, so I respect that,” he said. “I just hope they continue to think of me as part of the team because I’ll always be a commissioner at heart and continue to do what I can for this area. I look forward to working with them in the future.”
Amoroso said she has full confidence in the nominating committee and process.
“These folks that are serving have spent hours working on this,” Amoroso said. “I trust they will come up with somebody who is acceptable and confident and qualified; that’s really what we’re looking for.”