Robinson takes oath as council member

By: Jessica Horne - Staff writer
Mayor Bruce Davis, left, looks on Monday as Judge Herbert Richardson congratulates Melissa Robinson after she was sworn in as the newest member of the Lumberton City Council. Also shown are Robinson's mother, Marcia Nealy, right, and Dr. Florence Brown.

LUMBERTON — Melissa Robinson officially became the newest member of Lumberton City Council on Monday, replacing her late husband who represented Precinct 2 before his unexpected death.

“I want to pick up where my husband left off and continue to assist people,” she said.

Robinson was formally sworn in during a ceremony in the council’s chamber at City Hall. She takes the seat occupied by her husband, John “Big Wayne” Robinson, until his death on Feb. 28. She defeated Garry Evans in a July 23 special election for the right to take the seat.

Robinson took the oath with her mother, Marcia Nealy, by her side.

“Just to stand before you this evening is truly a blessing,” said Robinson, who works as a technician in the pharmacy at CVS on Fayetteville Road.

She said it is “an honor” to continue the work of helping others and pushing forward as her husband did, and knowing he would be proud of her work, the new council member said.

Retired District Court Judge Herbert Richardson administered the oath of office.

“He (John Robinson) was a good friend of mine, and I miss him dearly,” Richardson said.

“I’m swearing in the brains of the operation tonight,” he added, sparking laughter from everyone present.

The swearing in ceremony took place in front of a host of Robinson’s family members and friends. Also present were former council members. Among them were Sheriff Burnis Wilkins, Robert Jones and Wyatt Johnson.

Johnson, who retired as the representative of Precinct 2 in 2010 at the age of 82, shared a few words on his 25 years on the council.

“A lot of people take for granted what it is about being sworn in for anything,” he said. “You need to know what you’re doing when you’re taking the oath.”

Serving on the council is rewarding work, but brings with it a heavy responsibility, Johnson said. He recalled his phone ringing constantly, sometimes in the middle of the night.

“I learned so much by being on the City Council,” he said.

One of the lessons learned was the importance of serving others and getting to know the person on the other end of the phone call, Johnson said.

John Robinson became a councilman in 2011 when he joined the council to serve the final two years of Johnson’s term. Robinson was re-elected in 2013 and again in 2017 to his current term, which would have expired in December 2021. His wife will finish out that term.

Melissa Robinson, the first black female to be elected to the Lumberton City Council, was unofficially sworn in during the council’s Aug. 7 meeting. She participated in that meeting and this past week’s meeting. The council normally meets on the first Wednesday of the month as the Council Policy Committee and the following Monday to take action. But Monday’s meeting was devoted only to the swearing-in and a reception that followed. No action was taken.

Mayor Bruce Davis, left, looks on Monday as Judge Herbert Richardson congratulates Melissa Robinson after she was sworn in as the newest member of the Lumberton City Council. Also shown are Robinson’s mother, Marcia Nealy, right, and Dr. Florence Brown.
https://www.robesonian.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/web1_city1-1.jpgMayor Bruce Davis, left, looks on Monday as Judge Herbert Richardson congratulates Melissa Robinson after she was sworn in as the newest member of the Lumberton City Council. Also shown are Robinson’s mother, Marcia Nealy, right, and Dr. Florence Brown.

Jessica Horne

Staff writer

Reach Jessica Horne at 910-416-5165 or via email at [email protected]

Reach Jessica Horne at 910-416-5165 or via email at [email protected]