It’s an odd-numbered year, which mean it’s time once again for the state House and Senate to pick members for the UNC Board of Governors.
Each chamber got six picks this year. (It used to be eight, but the General Assembly decided a couple of years ago to cut the BOG from 32 to 24 members.). Each new and returning member gets a four-year term starting July 1.
The House reappointed five people and picked one new member. The reappointments:
• Pearl Burris-Floyd of Gaston County, who's the board secretary. Local readers will remember that she was briefly a lobbyist for the Greensboro Partnership, the city’s primary community and economic development outfit.
• C. Philip Byers of Forest City, who chairs the board’s Public Affairs committee.
• James Holmes Jr. of Raleigh, who chairs the board’s Audit, Risk Management and Compliance committee.
• J. Alex Mitchell of Durham, who chairs the board’s Strategic Initiatives committee.
• David Powers of Raleigh, who chairs the University Governance committee.
The one new House appointee is H. Terry Hutchens, the managing partner of a Fayetteville law firm. He holds degrees from N.C. State (undergrad) and Wake Forest (MBA and law) and was appointed by two different Republican governors (Jim Martin and Pat McCrory) to the N.C. Board of Transportation.
Three people whom the House appointed in 2015 (back when it had eight picks, remember) won’t be back: Walter Davenport, Joe Knott and Ann Maxwell. The AP reported that Maxwell didn’t want a third term.
Over in the Senate, same deal: five reappointments and one new member. The returnees:
• Darrell Allison of Mooresville, who chairs the board’s Committee on Historically Minority-Serving Institutions. The school choice advocate is getting his first full term; he was appointed in 2017 after former chair John Fennebresque quit.
• Thom Goolsby, the former state senator from Wilmington and occasional YouTuber.
• Anna Spangler Nelson of Charlotte, who chairs the Educational Planning, Policies, and Programs committee.
• Temple Sloan of Raleigh, who chairs both the Healthcare and the Budget and Finance committees.
• Michael Williford, a Fayetteville attorney.
The lone new member among the Senate picks is Martin L. “Mark” Holton III of Winston-Salem. He's the retired general counsel for Reynolds American, the cigarette maker that’s now owned by British American Tobacco. Holton got both of his degrees (undergrad and law) from UNC-Chapel Hill.
Three Senate appointees won't be back: former chairman Lou Bissette, Frank Grainger and William Webb, who resigned in February.
The House and Senate picks comes amidst much hew and cry over the past few weeks about the UNC System's governing board. A new group called Reform UNC System Governance accuses the BOG of “meddling and micromanaging” and demands “less political influence and more civic responsibility” on the university system’s governing board. In a bipartisan N&O op-ed last week, former UNC System president Erskine Bowles and former Charlotte mayor Richard Vinroot wrote that “there must be (political) balance” on the BOG.
It didn't happen, of course. Though House and Senate Democrats fussed at their GOP colleagues, the votes in both chambers fell pretty much along party lines, and Republicans got both of their slates approved.
This latest round of appointments still leaves Greensboro with more state universities (two) than BOG reps (one). The lone local rep is Marty Kotis, who lives in Summerfield but does much of his real estate business in Greensboro — he's the Mayor of Midtown, after all — so I guess we’ll count it.