EDEN — Jim Burnette, a longtime city leader and sitting mayor pro tem, was beaten by a wide margin in his bid for the city’s Ward 2 council seat.
Former council member Bruce Nooe took 906 votes or 62.01% to Burnette’s 545, which reflected 37.30%. The Eden native had served on the Eden Planning Board and is past president of the Eden Boys and Girls Club.
Nooe announced Sunday on his Facebook campaign page that if elected he would attempt through litigation “civil/criminal” to recoup funds taken from the city by Corcoran.
He further detailed plans to review Eden’s nepotism policy and to form a Citizen Committee on Financial Administration and Internal Controls if elected.
Such a body would ostensibly place checks and balances on city officials in the wake of Corcoran’s departure.
The defeat comes after a year of scandal at City Hall. Brad Corcoran, a longtime city manager, resigned in July and accepted and Alford Plea arrangement after he was charged with a felony for falsifying payroll records during the time his children were employed by the city.
Elected to the city council in 2007, Burnette served as mayor pro tem since 2012.
A hallmark of his tenure with the city came in 2017 when Burnette introduced the Eden Strategic Planning initiative, the catalyst for development of green spaces, rebranding campaigns and creation of a popular splash pad at the city’s Freedom Park.
Burnette was also a member of the administrative team that helped transition the formerly imperiled Morehead Memorial Hospital to its new iteration in 2018 as UNC Rockingham Health Care, part of the UNC Health System.
Ward 6 seat winner is Phil Hunnicutt, an Eden real estate broker, who claimed 654 votes, or 45.42%. Tom Fulton trailed with 477, or 33.12%, while Lisa Haraway Goldsworthy won 298 votes, or 20.69%. Write-ins numbered 11, or 0.76%, according to Tuesday evening’s unofficial results from the Rockingham County Board of Elections.
Bernie Moore was victorious in the race for the Ward 1 seat, receiving 977 votes, equal to 71.89% of all votes cast. Write-in ballots numbered 382, or 28.11%.
Incumbent Gerald “Jerry” Ellis returns to the council’s Ward 7 seat after running unopposed. He garnered 78.29% of votes which numbered 1,060. And 294 or 21.71% of vote were classified as write-ins, according to Tuesday evening’s unofficial results from the Rockingham County Board of Elections.
Ellis was first elected to the council in 2007.