Mayor nearly thrown out for “disrupting” meeting
Indian Trail’s empty council seat has been filled. Roger K. Stanton was selected during the Tuesday, July 26 meeting to fill the seat vacated by John Hullinger, who resigned last month. Stanton was sworn in after the council selected him from among 10 candidates for the seat.
A resident of Taylor Glenn, Stanton and his wife of 15 years have four school aged children, according to his resume. He is president of Blumer and Stanton, Inc., a manufacturer of wood trim products, a member of Southbrook Church and volunteers for Habitat for Humanity. Stanton said he is conservative but believes progress is important to the town.
“If we don’t do something to increase our resources (given the rapid growth) then in 10 to 15 years Indian Trail will be known for something else, such as higher crime,” Stanton said in response to a question about the need for a Public Works Department from council member Darlene Luther during his interview.
Town Attorney Keith Merritt said one of the reasons the Town Council decided to fill the open seat for the remainder of Hullinger’s term, which ends in November, was because of the wording of a statute that said the council “shall” fill the open position (versus the optional word, “may”). The council discussed the issue at a previous meeting when the question was asked by council member Gary D’Onofrio.
“They felt that there was a long enough gap before the election that they didn’t want to leave it open for that length of time,” Merritt said.
Stanton was one of eight candidates that came to the meeting to be interviewed by the council. Other candidates included Michael Alvarez; David Drehs; Betty Howell; Steven (Chip) Long; Ash Minor; Sandy Moore and Michael Sailors. Five of the candidates, including Stanton, had filed to run for the seat in the coming election.
Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Goodall asked candidate Michael Alvarez if he filed to run for mayor (against Goodall). Alvarez acknowledged he had filed to run against Goodall and the two bantered. Goodall joked that Alvarez had almost won his vote.
Questions for the candidates included: Have you read the town survey; Why are you interested in serving the town of Indian Trail; What do you feel the current town council has done correctly and incorrectly and why; and How do you handle rejection (when voting against the majority on an issue) – among others.
Candidate Sandy Baucom Moore said her previous experience as mayor and a council member of Indian Trail would help her “hit the ground running.” Moore said she had no intention of running past filling Hullingers remaining term (if selected).
Town Council excludes mayor from interview process
About 30 minutes into the meeting, just before the first interview with Alvarez began, the council voted unanimously to exclude Mayor John Quinn from the interview process for council member candidates.
After the council finished questioning Alvarez, Quinn attempted to ask him a question and was shut down by Goodall and Allen.
“Mr. Mayor, you’re out of order,” Goodall chided.
Quinn continued in his attempt to ask Alvarez a question and council member Robert Allen called for
Goodall to have security escort him out. After Goodall conferred with Town Attorney Keith Martin about their options the council passed another motion to exclude the exchange, including Quinn’s comments, from the record.
Quinn told the next candidate who arrived, David Drehs, that “The town council has voted to cut me out of the process. I tried to ask the last candidate a question and they shouted me down. Inadvertantly, the Sherriff’s office will drag me out here if I continue,” Quinn said.
Quinn attempted to question other candidates and was again shut down by Goodall and Allen, but not thrown out. Quinn said he would ask the candidates his questions outside of the meeting and stepped out of the building to do so.
Allen asked Ash Minor, and several other candidates, if Quinn had contacted him before this meeting and, if so, would he elaborate. Minor said the mayor had called him but it was only to welcome him as “sort of a meet and greet.”
At the end of the open meeting, after he was sworn in, Stanton sat next to Quinn who welcomed him to the council.