NEW HANOVER COUNTY — The New Hanover County Republican Party made its selection for the replacement of former commissioner Deb Hays, who passed away unexpectedly last month
Dane Scalise, a local attorney and insurance broker, has been selected.
READ MORE: NHC commissioner Deb Hays dies unexpectedly
“I am honored to have been recommended and am ready to serve the people of New Hanover should the County Commission approve my appointment,” Scalise wrote to Port City Daily on Friday.
The party’s executive committee unanimously selected Scalise, according to Nevin Carr, the newly elected GOP chairman for New Hanover County Republican Party.
“We created a nominating committee to receive applications, vet, interview and ultimately make a recommendation to our executive committee,” Carr wrote in an email to Port City Daily. “It was apparent after hearing the report from the nominating committee that Dane will do a phenomenal job as a Commissioner.”
The sitting board of commissioners are expected to take a vote on Scalise’s appointment Monday.
Hays, a Republican, died March 25 of a suspected heart attack. State law maintains the party of the vacant seat suggest the replacement, with the board of commissioners having the final say. The process has to be completed within 60 days of a vacancy or the Clerk of Superior Court would then make the nomination within 10 days.
Commissioner chair Bill Rivenbark sent a letter to Carr on March 27, according to internal emails, indicating the timeline and urgency to elect someone in a “thoughtful and prompt” manner.
“The county has numerous planning items and our budget process underway, as well as other important business to conduct,” Rivenbark wrote in the letter. “Having a full board engaged and involved in that work is important.”
He asked the party to send its nomination by April 10 so the board would have enough time to “assess that person’s qualifications and determine who should be appointed to fill the vacancy.” The Republican party posted its announcement to social media on Thursday, April 13.
Carr told Port City Daily upon opening applications two weeks ago, the party was looking for someone focused on fiscal responsibility, bringing down crime and was passionate about the community. Yet, he wouldn’t reveal how many applications were received at the time.
“At this point in the process I’m not at liberty to discuss any of those details,” he responded.
However, Carr said Friday they chose Scalise because of his “ability to lead and work well with others, conservative values, and his experience [and] knowledge of Commissioners role and responsibilities.”
An undergraduate of UNC-Greensboro and law graduate from UNC-Chapel Hill, Scalise owns ILM Lawyers and works for GriffinEstep Benefit Group, an insurance brokerage and consulting firm in New Hanover County.
He has served locally on the board of directors for the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce, Wilmington Downtown Inc, and the New Hanover County Bar Association. From 2016 through 2020, he also served as Deputy Commissioner of the North Carolina Industrial Commission.
In a comment to PCD, commissioner Rob Zapple said he worked with Scalise in the community for years, including serving on WDI’s board of directors. Scalise was board president and stepped in as interim executive director during the transition from Ed Wolverton’s exit to when Holly Childs took over in 2020.
“Dane did an excellent job of maintaining and enhancing the work of WDI for downtown Wilmington businesses, as he guided the organization through an extended period without an executive director,” Zapple said. “I have always found Dane to be a thoughtful, transparent, hard working, and compassionate community leader.”
Republican commissioner LeAnn Pierce said she first met Scalise a few months back and appreciated his enthusiasm for civic service. She expressed support of the GOP’s nomination.
“While we continue to morn the loss of Commissioner Hays, the nomination of Mr. Scalise will allow the board to continue the work for the people of New Hanover County,” Pierce wrote to PCD. “Mr. Scalise will bring his experience of the law, Wilmington Chamber and Downtown Inc., as well as the NC Industrial Commission to the board. I am looking forward to working with him to serve the citizens of this great county.”
The New Hanover County Board of Commissioners will meet Monday, April 17, 9 a.m.
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