Though defeated in the April 14 Sneads Town Council race by challenger George Alexander, Group II incumbent Tim Arnold will remain on the council even after the newly elected members are sworn in next month, albeit in a different seat.
At the April meeting of the Sneads Town Council, members voted 2-1 to appoint Arnold to the seat left vacant when longtime council president Helen Grice passed away suddenly this past January. With more than a year remaining on her council term at the time of her tragic death, Grice’s council seat was not due for a public vote until 2021; ergo, it was not one of the two council seats up for grabs on the April 14 ballot.
In such cases, the Sneads town charter gives the council the authority to appoint someone to serve out the remainder of the term associated with the vacant seat. And since Sneads council seats are decided by a town-wide “at-large” vote, rather than by district, Arnold is not restricted to his current seat by his residential geography within the town limits. As an adult resident of Sneads, Arnold is technically eligible to serve on any seat on the council – Grice’s former spot, included – whether by public vote or appointment.
At the council meeting last week, council member Alton Ranew made the motion to appoint Arnold to Grice’s old seat and Daryl Johnson, Sr. – who was, himself, defeated in the recent municipal elections, as well – seconded. Arnold abstained from the vote and council member Mike Weeks cast the lone “nay.” In the days since, Weeks has publicly decried the unconventional, likely-to-be-controversial move, characterizing it as an affront to voters, who on April 14 decided by a not-insignificant majority to oust Arnold in favor of seating his opponent, George Alexander. When all the votes were tallied, 180 ballots were cast for Alexander, compared to just 115 in support of retaining incumbent Arnold.
In the only other Sneads council race for 2020, Donovan Weeks handily defeated incumbent Johnson, 207 to 87. Weeks is to be sworn in next month, when Johnson’s term officially concludes.
And in what is sure to be a bizarre spectacle, if not an outright historic evening for Sneads council politics, Arnold, too, is expected to take the oath of office next month – alongside the man who defeated him in the 2020 Group II council race.