Atlantic Beach council receives 8 applications to fill board vacancy

The conference table in the Atlantic Beach town hall meeting room sits ready for the next gathering of the town council. (Mike Shutak photo)

ATLANTIC BEACH — The town council has eight applicants to choose from as they search for Councilman Harry Archer’s successor.

Atlantic Beach officials began their search for a new councilman in December. After Mr. Archer’s death Dec. 2, the council was left with the task of appointing someone to complete his term after he had been reelected in the 2021 municipal election. The council accepted applications until Jan. 1, and is scheduled to select Mr. Archer’s successor at the regular council meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 24.

According to a Friday email to the News-Times, eight Atlantic Beach residents have applied for the position – Renea Baker, Terry Barbour, Philip Hursey, Bradley Jones, Kathy McGehee, John Nix, Richard Porter and Lib Sheppard. Mayor Trace Cooper said in Friday’s email the council has “a very talented group of citizens who’ve offered to serve our town.”

“We see this every time we ask for volunteers,” the mayor said, “but I’m always impressed by the level of talented individuals who live in Atlantic Beach and are willing to dedicate their time and efforts to our town.”

The mayor went on to say the applicants include people with “municipal experience.” Mr. Porter is a former councilman, while Ms. Baker is a member of the town planning board.

Mayor Cooper said one of the applicants previously served as the planning board chairman in Kinston.

“We also have a lawyer, a professor, retired and working executives and the leader of a property management organization that knows as much about Atlantic Beach as anyone,” the mayor said.

While the council is scheduled to review the applications at its Jan. 24 meeting and may make a decision at that time, Mayor Cooper said the council could wait until February to make the decision.

“It would have been easy for the council to quietly appoint someone they know to fill this seat,” he said, “but I’m glad we’ve taken the approach we have. We opened the process to all of our citizens and, as a result, have gotten a great group of applicants.”

According to the mayor, the council will review all the applications and speak with the applicants. He said the hard part of the process will be “picking one person from this group.”

“We may call a special work session to discuss a process for finalizing the decision…Given the applicants we have, we can’t make a bad choice, but I’m hopeful that one or two applicants will emerge as the best fit for our board at this time.” 


Contact Mike Shutak at 252-723-7353, email; or follow on Twitter at @mikesccnt.

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