Calabash commissioner quits

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By Laura Lewis, Reporter

CALABASH—Town commissioner Jody Nance has resigned.

Nance’s resignation came Tuesday night as the town board was going into closed session to discuss personnel issues following its open monthly meeting.

Newly sworn-in Mayor Mary Knight said Nance handed her a handwritten note as the board was convening into the closed session.

Knight said the note stated Nance was stepping down from his seat because of personal matters. After handing Knight the note, Nance left town hall and did not attend the board’s closed session.

Rather than announce the contents of the note, Knight said she publicly announced following the closed session that Nance had to leave the meeting and was not excused by a vote of the board, therefore he was considered present.

Knight said she wanted to have a chance to talk to Nance first. Knight said she tried to call Nance on Wednesday morning. She spoke with Nance’s wife.

“Apparently, he had been to town hall and turned in his key,” Knight said.

Nance, contacted Wednesday, said he and Knight had had private discussions about ways they could work together. He said she chose not to do anything they had talked about. He said one of the issues was Knight did not want to hand a plaque to outgoing Mayor Anthony Clemmons. Knight presented plaques to both Clemmons and outgoing town commissioner John Melahn during Tuesday night’s meeting.

Nance said he took issue with the tone of the meeting and the way it was run.

“I’m just tired,” he said. “It was just a number of things over a period of time.”

Nance said he was not concerned because the board voted to appoint incoming town commissioner Emily DiStasio mayor pro tem.

“I just don’t think we’re politically on the same page,” he said. “In my opinion, it’s too much of a conflict.”

Knight, he said, has a fresh start now and a whole new board.

“They can get together and hopefully work as a team,” Nance said.

In addition to Knight, incoming town commissioners Sandy Melahn and Charles “Buddy” Walton were sworn in Tuesday night. The board also voted to appoint Daria Buccilli, a board candidate in the Nov. 8 election, to fill Knight’s remaining two-year town commissioner term. DiStasio was scheduled to be sworn in but is out of state for a family emergency.

As for the newly vacant seat left by Nance, Knight said she has instructed town administrator Chuck Nance to seek guidance from town attorney Mark Lewis on how the board should proceed in filling it.

“It’s a shame,” Knight said of Jody Nance’s resignation. “We hate to see anyone have a difficult time. We’re going to work it out, and that’s all there is to it.”