DOBSON — Three seats are up for grabs this fall for the Surry County Board of Commissioners, but the first change started Monday night when a longtime board member resigned after a lengthy closed session.
Ruben Frazier “Buck” Golding wrote a memo to Chairman Eddie Harris that was made public after the closed session.
“Mr. Chairman: This is to inform you and fellow board members, county manager and the clerk of my immediate resignation from the Surry County Board of Commissioners (Central District),” he wrote.
“It has been my pleasure to serve the citizens of Surry County for 11+ years. I leave this position with no regrets and know that county government is in good hands. I will be available at your discretion to help in any way that I can. I wish the board continued success in the future. Respectfully yours, R.F. Golding.”
Golding first served on the county board from 1994-98. After losing his first attempt at a second term, Golding won in 2010 and was reelected in 2014.
“It is with deep regret that we accept the resignation of Commissioner Buck Golding,” stated Harris.
“It has been my privilege to serve with Commissioner Golding for the last eight years. He has served with honor and integrity. Buck is a man of priciple and never lost sight of the taxpayers that he served. He has been my mentor and friend for many years, and he will be missed.”
Golding said he was stepping down to spend more time with his family.
“I am so sad, but I understand is reasoning,” said Harris.
The county board now has 60 days to make an appointment for the position, otherwise the clerk of court will make the appointment to fill out the rest of the term, which goes until the Dec. 3 county meeting when a newly elected board member will be sworn in.
Golding’s position is one of three on the ballot this fall. The other two are the Mount Airy district, held by Larry Phillips and the South district now held by Chairman Harris.
Tony Childs of Mount Airy filed last week as a Republican for the Central District seat that Golding has held. Childs was in attendance at Monday’s meeting.
In his last election in 2014, Golding won going away with almost 68 percent of the vote against Donald Holder Sr.
“I appreciate the support of the people of Surry County,” he said then. “It’s an honor that they have the confidence to support me for four more years.”
Commissioners Eddie Harris and Larry Phillips were unopposed at that time. Harris was seeking his second term on the board after being first elected in 2010.
Phillips received his first nod from voters after being tapped in 2012 to fill the unexpired term vacated by the death of Commissioner Garry Scearce.
In 2016 Van Tucker was appointed to fill the final year of Paul Johnson’s seat, then was elected that fall.
That same year, Commissioner Jimmy Miller lost in the Republican primary to Larry Johnson and chose to resign, opting that Johnson be appointed to the position in April 2016 and get “a head start” before the fall election.
Last year, it was Sheriff Graham Atkinson who announced his retirement to accept a state position. Chief Deputy Jimmy Combs was approved as sheriff 10 months ago and has just filed for his first election coming this fall.
In similar fashion to those examples, whoever gets appointed will have half a year to build momentum going into the election.
In December 2016, Golding relinquished his spot as chairman of the county board to Harris.
“We don’t want it to be stale,” he said about the transition at that time. “Until they throw me out, I’ll always bring that taxpayer into view every time. … I hope honesty and integrity will be what people will remember about me.”
Reach Jeff at 415-4692.