ALBEMARLE — At the conclusion of a four-hour meeting held at the Stanly County Republican headquarters on Oct. 12, the party’s executive committee nominated and appointed a member to fill the vacancy left by former Chairman Jeff Chance on the county’s Board of Education.
Stanfield resident Dustin Lisk will take over for Chance, who resigned at the conclusion of the Stanly school board’s Oct. 5 meeting and left behind a seat that is active till December of 2022.
“I’m ready to serve the county, live up to the expectations that have been set and bring value to the board with the expertise that I have. I’ll listen to the constituents and make the best decisions possible,” Lisk told SCJ following his appointment.
On Nov. 2, he will take part in his first school board meeting and current Vice Chair Glenda Gibson will assume the chair role until the board does its annual reorganization in December.
Lisk works as a wealth management advisor for Raymond James and said that his interest in joining the school board stems from the conversations and experiences he’s shared with his wife, who works as a school teacher in Union County. During the meeting’s proceedings, he admitted that he registered as a Republican for the first time this past January but said that he had served the party in the past assisting with various campaigns.
Out of the four GOP members that were nominated to fill the board vacancy, Lisk received 14 votes and Melvin Poole received five votes, while Levi Greene and Jerry Morton each tallied three votes.
The county’s GOP Executive Committee — composed of officers and precinct chairs — had a total of 25 available votes with the rules stipulating that the school board appointee must receive 50% of the votes plus one. The 14 votes for Lisk put him just above the necessary threshold that negated the requirement for a secondary vote session.
While the GOP meeting ran from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m, the voting process only consisted of the final 15 minutes — the vast majority of the time was dedicated to a question-and-answer session between Lisk, Greene, Morton, and the executive committee. Poole was out-of-state due to a prior family obligation and unable to attend the meeting.
The bulk of the questioning centered around the mask mandate that is currently in place for Stanly County Schools; that district policy was introduced for the fall semester in August and reinforced earlier this month; Vice Chair Gibson and board members Rufus Lefler, Carla Poplin and Vicky Watson voted for it while Anthony Graves and Bill Sorenson voted against it.
Prior to his appointment to the board, Lisk told the executive committee that he remains opposed to school mask mandates on a personal level while remaining vague as to how that would translate in a potential voting situation, indicating he valued “law and order” and would hesitate to obstruct legislation handed down from the state government to the local level.
In contrast, Greene and Morton both told the crowd that they would take a stand “at any cost” to oppose a mandate even in face of lawsuits and financial pressure from Gov. Roy Cooper and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
Lisk’s appointment stands as the first time the Stanly County GOP Executive Committee has been tasked with choosing a new board member to fill a seat vacancy due to a resignation.
According to North Carolina General Statutes Chapter 115C Article 37, Stanly County is one of 26 counties in the state where vacancies in offices of county boards are filled on a partisan basis, meaning that the political party of the vacated member is tasked with appointing the member’s replacement.