SALISBURY – Some seats were swapped this week as the Wicomico County Council was joined by a new council member followed by the traditional election of officers.
In late November, the Wicomico County Council appointed John Hall, a local businessman, to fill a vacant seat on council left by Councilman Bob Caldwell who had passed away after a long battle with cancer.
According to the county charter, when a council vacancy takes place before the end of the term of office the vacated member’s Central Committee submits a list of four nominees to the County Council. The nominees must be the same political affiliation and reside in the same district as the previous council member.
Hall has resided in Wicomico County his entire life and owns Hall’s Tidewater Travel. He was previously elected to Wicomico County Council in 2010 to represent District 4. Hall will now serve the remainder of the current term until 2014.
“I would like to thank the County Council for appointing me to Bob Caldwell’s seat, and I look forward to working with the council, the administration, and the citizens of Wicomico County to best use the resources that we have,” Hall said as he was sworn in on Tuesday evening.
Next Gail Bartkovich took the last few minutes as council president to explain the county charter required the election of officials take place during the first meeting of December.
First, Councilman Bob Culver nominated Councilman Matt Holloway for vice president.
“I would like to first say thank you for your service as president,” he said to Bartkovich. “Being a first-time councilman you helped me get up to speed in the art of politics.”
There were no other nominations made for a vice president and in unanimous consensus Matt Holloway assumed the position, replacing Joe Holloway.
Next the newly appointed Vice President Matt Holloway nominated Joe Holloway for president. Again, there were no other nominations brought forward and he was elected by unanimous consensus among the council.
A little over an hour later during council comments, Councilwoman Sheree Sample-Hughes stepped forward to say the record should be set straight as far as the unanimous consensus over the president’s position.
“I can’t leave this meeting here tonight with a clear conscience in regards to a position that I do not feel as though should have taken place here tonight … if I am going to sit here and serve you with citizenry, and integrity, and honesty, the emotion I feel on the position is I cannot support the president that is currently in the position this evening,” Sample-Hughes said.
Her reasoning was that she cannot support a colleague to become president if they cannot speak to her in a professional format.
Also during council comments, Bartkovich thanked her co-council members for their support.
“I very much appreciate it and I don’t think I could have gotten through the years without all your help and input,” she said.
Newly appointed Council President Joe Holloway also took the time to thank Bartkovich for her time spent as president.
“I hope I can carry the torch as well as she did,” he said.