FAIRMONT — Commissioner Perry Ashley has decided to resign from the Fairmont Board of Commissioners, effective April 17.
She made the announcement during the board’s Tuesday meeting, and fellow commissioners voted unanimously to accept it. She said the decision was due to “personal circumstances.”
Immediately after the board accepted her resignation, Ashley said she wanted to nominate Kim Ammons to serve the remainder of her term, which ends in December 2013.
Commissioner J.J. McCree objected.
“It would be only courtesy to give every one of us an opportunity to at least consider the one you nominated and look at the situation a little more in-depth,” McCree said. “… The courtesy isn’t given to the board when you walk in and say, ‘I’m resigning. I make an appointment of this person.’ No consideration for the rest of us. I don’t care how you look at it.”
Mayor Charles Kemp said a commissioner is allowed to nominate someone to fill the seat that person is vacating. He said during the past 35 years, there have been three vacancies on the board, two of which were filled by the board.
“I don’t like how it was handled, the procedure it went through tonight,” Commissioner Carol Leak-McKenzie said. “There’s not an opportunity for any of us other board members to put in a name.”
The board voted to table the matter until its next meeting, on April 17.
“I am very glad that the board decided to postpone the vote on the replacement of Commissioner Ashley until the April meeting,” Kemp said. “It was the right, correct and fair thing to do.”
Ashley was first elected to the board in 2009. There was a protest of the results, but Ashley’s election was eventually upheld.
Also on Tuesday, the board approved a resolution opposing tolls on Interstate 95.
The state Department of Transportation has proposed tolls as a way of paying for its share of an estimated $4.4 billion of new construction and improvements along the interstate. Using tolls to pay for the roadwork is recommended in a state-commissioned study, the I-95 Corridor Planning and Finance Study.
The commissioners were unanimous in their decision.
“Should I be foolish enough to continue my traveling from Fairmont to the fitness center in Lumberton through I-95, there and back it would cost me $80 a month to go work out,” Kemp said. “People are not stupid. They’re going to immediately get off I-95 and travel (U.S.) 301 … and the next thing, you’re going to have to pay for the re-surfacing and fixing of the road for 301.”
Copies of the resolution will be sent to state and federal representatives and to the Federal Highway Administration.
Also on Tuesday, the board:
— Appointed Commissioner Charles Townsend to the board of the Lumber River Council of Governments.
— Approved a $600,000 grant contract with the Clean Water Management Trust Fund, which will help pay for sewer upgrades around the town.
— Heard from Landa Gaddy about the Youth Self-Improvement Program in Robeson County.