Woodard would accept board chairmanship,
says TowneBank not a factor
By SANDY SEMANS
Dec. 1, marks the beginning of a new chapter in Dare County politics
when the newly-elected members of the Dare County Board of
Commissioners are sworn into office and a chairman and
vice-chairman are chosen for the coming year.
is considered the most powerful position on the board because the
chairman controls the agenda. That position has been held by Democrat
Warren Judge for about 12 of the last 14 years.
Republicans will be the majority on the board for the first time since
the mid-1980s, and it is presumed that there will be a new chairman
with that party affiliation.
“I can't predict how a possible
change in chairmanship might change how things are done,” said Dare
County Republican Chairman Browny Douglas. “But those who voted in the
recent election sent a clear signal that they want change, so it's hard
to imagine that there won't be any.”
The defeat of Democratic
incumbents Max Dutton and Virginia Tillett by Republicans Beverly
Boswell and Margarette Umphlett, respectively, and Republican
incumbents Jack Shea and Wally Overman maintaining their seats has
given the GOP a five-member majority on the seven-member board.
Bob Woodard, a Republican midway through his first term, is widely
predicted to be the next chairman. Woodard was in the middle of his
third term on the Kill Devil Hills Board of Commissioners when elected
to the county board. He also serves as the chairman of the Albemarle
Commission, one of the state's five regional development and planning
Woodard's employment with TowneBank insurance has
raised speculations about whether his employer would allow him to serve
in light of controversies with other employees holding public office in
Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms, an employee of
TowneBank, is on administrative leave from the financial institution
after coming under fire for failing to recuse himself in about five
dozen votes that favored the bank's loan clients. In addition, Sessoms
voted to sell city property below the appraised value to TowneBank
borrowers. The Commonwealth Attorney Colin Stollie has asked for a
special prosecutor to be named to investigate the dealings.
controversy has prompted TowneBank to ask several other employees
and/or board members who serve in elected positions to step away from
their positions with the bank or their elected positions.
those employees worked in the finance arena of the corporation, and
Woodard works solely on the insurance side of the company.
Woodard said that he doesn't know who the board will choose as chairman, but he would be honored to fill that role if asked.
been very fortunate that both my former and current employers have been
very into supporting [its workers] giving back to the community,” said
Woodard. “I have discussed the possibility of serving as chairman with
my superiors, and they are fine with it.
“I'm not a corporate
bank officer, so I don't make loans or have anything to do with that.
Whenever there is any question about propriety, I always ask the
attorney. And if necessary, I recuse myself.
“I always try to do the right thing and ask that people know me for the way I am.”
this year, TowneBank insurance was one of two companies that made
pitches related to the county's medical insurance. Woodard asked to be
recused and left the room during the presentations and the subsequent
vote. TowneBank did not win the contract.
The new and re-elected
board members will be sworn in at the meeting that begins at 9 a.m. on
Monday, Dec. 1. Choosing the chairman and vice-chairman to serve for
the next year will be the first order of business.