Durham County commissioners spent four hours Tuesday interviewing candidates to replace Becky Heron, who resigned in August due to her health. Eight Durham residents answered questions about education, budget cuts, taxation, development and how they would deal with conflict if the board appoints them to the role. There are 14 months left in Heron's term.
The four remaining commissioners have scheduled two hours during a work session that begins at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday to discuss the applicants and vote on their top three candidates. Although 10 people initially applied for the position, eight remain. Pastor Sylvester Williams, who is also running for mayor in the October primary, withdrew from the race, as did Duke University biology professor Will Wilson. The remaining candidates are social worker Anita Daniels, attorney Hampton Dellinger, former teacher and planning commissioner Wendy Jacobs, former banker Pam Karriker, real estate agent Toni Kemble, sheriff's Capt. Rickey Padgett, retired nurse Jane Redoble and Jane Volland, the retired former director of the state's Guardian ad Litem program.
The commissioners could vote tomorrow on Heron's replacement, or choose to vote during their next regular meeting Sept. 12. The commissioners have until the end of September to choose a replacement. If they fail to decide among themselves, or the vote ends in a tie, the decision would be sent to Durham County Clerk of Court Archie Smith, per state law.
State law also requires that Heron's successor be a member of her same party. The Democratic Party took applications last month, and after several rounds of voting, party leaders chose Dellinger as their recommendation to commissioners, with Jacobs coming in second. The commissioners are not obligated to take the party's recommendation.