Friday, February 3, 2023

New Hanover Commissioners elect Jonathan Barfield as Chairman, Olsen-Boseman takes vice-chair

Barfield has served on the Board of Commissioners for more than 10-years and has previous experience as Chairman of the Board.

Jonathan Barfield took his seat Monday night after being elected as Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners (Port City Daily/Courtesy NHC)
Jonathan Barfield took his seat Monday night after being elected as Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners (Port City Daily/Courtesy NHC)

WILMINGTON — New Hanover County’s leadership has a new face after the Board of Commissioners voted to elect Jonathan Barfield as Chairman of the Board.

After serving several years as the New Hanover County Commissioner Chairman, Woody White has been unseated. During a Monday night meeting, the County Commissioners voted, as they do every year, on appointing the chairman of the board for the new year.

This won’t be the first go-round for Barfield, who has been on the Board of Commissioners for 10 years and served as Chairman for multiple terms in the past.

The move signifies the changing political makeup of the Board of Commissioners, which was previously a Republican majority board for years; after the general election, the board became a Democrat-led commission.

Returning to the board where she served from 2000 to 2004, Democrat Julia Olson-Boseman managed to garner more votes than Republican candidate Skip Watkins, changing the majority party in New Hanover County leadership.

During the meeting, Olson-Boseman and Commissioner Rob Zapple were both sworn in for four-year terms, afterward, the board voted on the new chairman.

Both Zapple and Republican Commissioner Patrica Kusek made motions to nominate Barfield as Chairman.

“In addition to his experience, he has demonstrated the temperament and the leadership to guide this board of our county as we face the challenges ahead. Jonathan’s experience, seniority, on this board and proven leadership make him the proper and appropriate choice,” Zapple said after nominating Barfield.

Zapple also noted while Barfield has the full support of Democrats in the county, he also works well with and has the respect of Republican colleagues.

The vote to elect Barfield as Chairman was unanimous.

“I am certainly looking forward to the honor and opportunity as serving yet-again as chair of our board of county commissioners. I walk in the footsteps of this great man named Jonathan Barfield Sr. … he is my father and he served on this board for 12-years,” Barfield said after taking his seat as Chairman.

For Barfield, his goal is to encourage economic development and become the leader in Southeast North Carolina.

Olson-Boseman for vice-chair

Julia Olsen-Boseman will serve as vice-chair of the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners (Port City Daily/Courtesy Julia Olsen-Boseman)
Julia Olsen-Boseman will serve as vice-chair of the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners (Port City Daily/Courtesy Julia Olsen-Boseman)

The board also elected a new vice-chair to the board, Olson-Boseman. Commissioner Woody White made the nomination for Olsen-Boseman and Kusek seconded it.

Barfield, however, nominated Zapple but only after White made his motion for Olson-Boseman which led to a 3-2 vote in favor of Olson-Boseman taking the title.

Speaking on her nomination by White, Olson-Boseman said, “Everyone is used to seeing Woody and I fight each other for the past 15-years and for the next two, hopefully, four, we are going to be working together and trying to serve together for the common good of this county.”

Despite their previous scuffles, including a contentious state senate campagin, Olson-Boseman and White had never had a real conversation, that was, until the election.

“A few days after the election I called up Woody and he graciously had me in his office — that was the first conversation we had ever had in 15-years. I am looking forward to getting to know him better as a person and looking to see what we can have in common,” she said.


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