ROWLAND — A new mayor and two commissioners were sworn in and the sitting mayor pro tem was re-elected, all within 15 minutes during Tuesday’s Rowland Board of Commissioners meeting.
After being sworn in to serve her two-year term, Michelle Shooter took the vacated mayor’s seat and led her first meeting, which proceeded quickly so town leaders would have an opportunity to attend a Robeson County Board of Education meeting at Southside-Ashpole Elementary School. She won the seat in a uncontested race during the November municipal elections.
“It won’t be that easy next time,” Commissioner Betty Boyd said joking after the meeting ended.
Commissioners Paul Hunt and Marvin Shooter were sworn in to four-year terms and the commissioners voted unanimously for Marvin Shooter to continue as the mayor pro tem.
“Mr. Shooter did an outstanding job as mayor pro tem,” Hunt said.
Marvin Shooter has been leading the board meetings since former Mayor James Hampton announced his resignation on March 24 for personal reasons. He had about 10 months remaining on his two-year term.
In April, the commissioners chose to ignore the advice of Town Attorney Rob Price and decided not hold a special election to replace Hampton because of the financial burden the election would place on the town. Price had said a special election was required by town’s charter, which was established in the 1990s.
Michelle Shooter, 36, filed in July to run for mayor.
“I wanted to do something. I didn’t want to be that person that just criticized from the couch,” she said.
Originally from Greenville, the new mayor is employed with the N.C. Department of Agriculture as a plant pest specialist. She hopes to incorporate her knowledge of agriculture in her decision-making process.
“I’m very passionate about agriculture and I’m very passionate about people. Agriculture is very important in Robeson County and we have to support our farmers,” she said.
Something the new mayor and other town leaders agree on already is that she will bring a fresh perspective to the position.
“I’m excited. She’s bringing new energy,” Town Clerk David Townsend said. “I’m looking forward to seeing her put her best foot forward. I just hope I can keep up with her pace.”
“I’m a high energy person. I like to bring good energy to places I go and the people I meet,” Michelle Shooter said.
The first thing the new mayor wants to tackle is the town’s infrastructure.
“That’s something that is huge. It’s not something that can just be fixed overnight,” she said. “I want to investigate and just see what we can do with our downtown area.”
Reach Tomeka Sinclair at 910-309-3469 or firstname.lastname@example.org