ST. PAULS — The town of St. Pauls is looking to fill the vacant seat of Commissioner Sam McAllister, who passed away last week after a brief illness.
McAllister died on July 28. He was 83.
“It is a great loss,”said Commissioner Ghee Johnson, who served with McAllister on the town board for eight years. “He was a fine gentleman who cared greatly about his constituents and the town of St. Pauls.”
McAllister was serving his third term representing District 4.
“This was very unexpected,” Mayor Gordon Westbrook said. “Sam was a good buddy of mine and I was just as shocked as anyone of his passing. We are going to honor his memory and his service by trying to get the right person in there.”
Town Administrator J.R. Steigerwald said because the next municipal election just three months away, state statute requires that the town board appoint someone to the last two years of McAllister’s four-year term.
Steigerwald said the board will announce at its Aug. 13 meeting that the town would like for residents in McAllister’s district to nominate themselves for consideration for the seat.
Steigerwald said the board may have called meeting as soon as Aug. 31 to conduct interviews.
He stressed that “under no condition will any of the interviews or discussion about the potential appointees be done in anything other than an open meeting.”
“The board could appoint a new member at its Sept. 10, 2015, meeting,” Steigerwald said. “However, there is no urgency so the board could proceed with a more deliberate process.”
Those interested in serving out the remainder of McAllister’s term can contact Town Hall at 910-865-5164.
“I’ve already had at least three people contact me,” Westbrook said. “So I know there is interest out there.”
McAllister, a native of St. Pauls, moved up North after graduating from high school. He served for many years as a manager for Exide Battery in Bridgeport, Connecticut, before retiring in St. Pauls. He is survived by his wife, Sylvia, and five children.
“The person that follows Mr. Sam has some big shoes to fill,” Johnson said.
Scott Witten can be reached at 910-384-6949.