mtairynews.com

City board taps Armbrister to fill vacant seat

By Tom Joyce tjoyce@civitasmedia.com

February 21, 2014

Jim Armbrister, a member of the Mount Airy Police Department for nearly 20 years, now has a new role with city government, due to being selected Thursday night to replace the late councilman Scott Graham.

“This has been tonight the toughest decision I have made as a commissioner,” said Jon Cawley, a member of the city board of commissioners since 2008.

Cawley and the four other commissioners now on the board spent more than two hours hearing presentations from nine city residents who expressed a willingness to serve on the board as at-large commissioner. Graham filled that spot from 2012 to this past January, when he died of cancer.

Ironically, Armbrister, the man who’ll now be the at-large member of the board, also was diagnosed with cancer about two years ago, prompting his retirement from the police department as community services officer.

But he said Thursday that his health is not an issue at this point.

“I would not be here today if I did not think I could fill this position,” said Armbrister, who added that his doctor cleared him to serve in what can be a demanding and time-consuming job.

“We’re good to go.”

Armbrister will be officially sworn in to office at the board’s next meeting on March 6. He was invited to join the rest of the commissioners after being selected near the end of Thursday night’s commissioners’ meeting, taking a spot where Graham once sat and his nameplate still there.

The late commissioners’ family members were in attendance.

Armbrister was chosen on the first ballot.

“We had some really, really qualified people,” Commissioner Dean Brown said of those seeking the post.

They also included Allen Burton, Bill Clark, Timothy DeVore, Paul Eich, Ken Klamfoth, Gail Proffitt, Bruce Springthorpe and Marie Wood.


A 10th person, Joshua Whitt, had expressed interest in the vacancy as well, but withdrew his name from consideration this week for personal reasons.

Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-719-1924 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.