Mayor seeks team of rivals

Sims encourages candidates who lost to seek city appointments
Dec. 10, 2012 @ 06:00 AM

New Mayor Bernita Sims has an intriguing offer for candidates who ran against her or didn’t win seats on City Council in last month’s election – come join us at City Hall.
At her first meeting as mayor Thursday morning, Sims and the eight councilmembers discussed filling appointed slots on various city boards and commissions in the coming year. Sims said that she’ll consider appointees to mayoral commissions from the pool of candidates who didn’t win elected office.
In a phone interview with The High Point Enterprise following the meeting, Sims said she also encourages councilmembers who will make appointments to consider candidates who didn’t win, since their bid for public office shows an interest in the city.
“They come with a passion,” Sims told the newspaper.
Inviting candidates who didn’t win to serve on appointed boards and commissions not only sends a message of inclusion, the mayor said, but would get them more oriented to city government if they are elected in the future.
Last month, 25 candidates sought the mayor’s post and council seats, and 16 of those men and women weren’t elected.
The city appoints members to 16 boards and commissions, including joint organizations in which the city has a representative on county or regional bodies.
The issue of appointments to city boards and commissions has become a thorny topic recently because of the fate of Cynthia Davis, who ran unsuccessfully for an at-large council seat last month and has served on the High Point Planning and Zoning Commission. Davis has raised questions about why former City Councilman Mike Pugh, who lost his Ward 3 seat in the Nov. 6 general election, wasn’t permitted to reappoint her to the Planning and Zoning Commission before he left office.  
On Thursday, the City Council unanimously voted to appoint businessman Ed Spivey Jr., the nominee of new Ward 3 Councilwoman Judy Mendenhall, to the Planning and Zoning Commission.
During Thursday’s council meeting, which Davis attended, she told the Enterprise that she would be willing to serve on another city board or commission. Sims told the newspaper that she would consider Davis for an appointment to another board or commission.
Two years ago, Sims took a similar approach to appointments as she was re-elected to her Ward 1 council seat. Sims appointed her challenger in the 2010 general election, Jeff Golden, to a slot on the High Point Citizens Advisory Council. Last month, Golden won the Ward 1 seat and became a new councilman, filling the seat Sims left to run for mayor.
“There were some folks who said to me (two years ago), ‘Why would you do that? This person ran against you.’ But it wasn’t personal that he ran against me. He’s passionate and wants to serve,” Sims said.
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