Candidates square off in Cornelius
by Staff Writer
Cornelius Board of Commissioners
CORNELIUS – The six candidates running for Cornelius Board of Commissioners met before a packed house on Tuesday, Oct. 5, to discuss town concerns at a candidate forum held in Cornelius Town Hall.
The forum was hosted by the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce, and featured all candidates in the running for the five spots of the Cornelius Board of Commissioners. Those fielding questions from moderator Jerry Hancock, of WTVI’s Final Edition, included challengers John R. Bradford III and Jeff Hare, as well as incumbents David Gilroy, Lynette Rinker, Thurman Ross and Chuck Travis.
Among the issues discussed were the Lake Norman Economic Development Corporation, Lake Norman codes and regulations and connectivity within the community.
When discussing their views on whether the Cornelius Police Department should take over services held by the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department Lake Unit all of the candidates agreed it was time for Cornelius to step in.
“We can cover the lake better and for cheaper,” Rinker said.
“The real issue is going to be stripping this project away from Charlotte,” Bradford said. “I absolutely support us, but I think we have our work cut out for us in getting that funding.”
Another hot topic discussed was the need for more publicity on an evacuation plan for Cornelius and other communities surrounding the McGuire Nuclear Station.
Hare, as well as other candidates, brought to light the sentiment that even though he was aware of an existing plan, he did not know the details.
“We need to spend time educating the population about the evacuation plan,” Hare said.
When asked what dreams they had for the town of Cornelius in the next two to four years, many focused on improving and maintaining the town’s current quality of life.
Bradford and Rinker both wanted to bring a reputation for supporting the arts to the town, among other ideas.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education
After the Board of Commissioners forum, those running for Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s Board of Education took the floor. The following candidates were in attendance:
Ken Nelson, Tim Morgan, Jeff Wise, Mary T.McCray, Aaron J. Pomis, Lloyd Scher, Larry Bumgarner, Hans Peter Plotseneder, Elyse Dashew, Erika Ellis-Stewart, Keith Hurley and Darrin L. Rankin.
Morgan was the only incumbent candidate in attendance at the forum.
Among the usual talk of revamping curriculum, the candidates are faced with a tough decision ahead of them, as those elected will need to hire a new county schools superintendent immediately.
Peter Gorman, the former Charlotte Mecklenburg County Schools superintendent, retired in June.
Some of the candidates called for a superintendent with business experience. Some candidates called for a superintendent who was a good communicator. However, nearly all candidates called for a superintendent who had teaching experience and could value the workforce of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.
Another item widely discussed by the candidates was the pay-per-performance policy that the county is looking at implementing. Nearly all candidates were against the proposed policy, which would require that a teacher’s pay to be based upon test scores and evaluations rather than how long that teacher has been instructing.
Also discussed during the forum were policies that could boost urban school performance without hurting the performance of suburban schools in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School system.
Other forums scheduled
The Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce will host forums with Huntersville candidates Thursday, Oct. 13, from 7 to 9 p.m. at Huntersville Town Hall and Davidson candidates Oct. 18 from 7 to 9 p.m. at St. Alban’s Community Church, 301 Caldwell Lane, Davidson.
Cornelius candidates will square off again Thursday, Oct. 13, at 11:30 a.m. at Cornelius Town Hall during a candidate forum. That event will feature a $7 barbecue lunch that will benefit the Cornelius Veteran’s Memorial currently being built.