Mason to replace Maske as commissioner

Board bypasses Democratic Party’s recommendation

By Kevin Spradlin

ROCKINGHAM — The Board of Richmond County Commissioners on Monday bypassed a recommendation from the county Democratic Party and appointed Daryl Mason to fulfill the unexpired term of former Commissioner Jimmy Maske, who retired May 31.

Daryl Mason

Daryl Mason

Members of the party’s executive committee met June 17 at the Richmond County Judicial Center. Peggy Covington and Bert Long, both candidates on the ballot for commissioner in November, were nominated. Covington garnered the support of the board. Covington had been supported by Raymond Collins and J.C. Watkins. Long was supported by Svea Strong.

Covington served as commissioner from 2008 to 2012 and placed fourth among five Democrats on the 2012 primary ballot with 2,896 vote — behind John Garner (4,264) and Kenneth Robinette (3,956), both of whom were re-elected to office that November, and Jimmy Capps (3,541).

On Monday, the commissioners opted to selected someone to serve until Dec. 31 who is not a candidate for office. Mason, chief operations officer at Leak Street High School, was honored in January as “a father, a leader and a motivator” to the students at the alternative school and the community at large during the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Gala.

The Democratic Party had up to 60 days to forward a recommendation to the commissioners by state law rests the decision solely on the commissioners. If the board hadn’t been able to reach a consensus, Clerk of Superior Court Vickie Daniel would have been tasked with making the appointment.

“It’s up to the board,” said County Manager Rick Sago upon forwarding Covington’s name to the commissioners.

Sago indicated commissioners had discussed “leaving it up to the voters” instead of appointing a candidate running for office in the November election.

The vote to appoint Mason was unanimous.

“I was lucky to work with Mr. Mason about a year or so ago as a mentor for one of his students,” Commissioner Don Bryant said. “He worked very well with the teachers, parents, myself … he was constantly on the go. Richmond County needs his leadership.”

It wasn’t immediately clear who forwarded Mason’s name to the commissioners for consideration. Still, Mason had the support he needed.

“I’ve heard nothing but good reports,” said Commissioner Thad Ussery, a sentiment echoed by board chairman Kenneth Robinette.

Mason is scheduled to be sworn in at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, July 15 at the Richmond County Judicial Center in Daniel’s office.

Mason has been a Richmond County resident for nearly 29 years. He relocated from Fort Myers, Fla., in 1985.

“I thank the board for giving me the opportunity continue to serve the people of Richmond County,” Mason said in a brief appearance at the podium. “It’s another opportunity to give back to the county that has adopted me.”

Maske, 78, submitted his letter of resignation in the last week of May. The commissioners honored his 36 years of service on the board on June 2.




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  • Alex Young

    Richmond County has made a great choice. Coach Mason is a good man. He is fit and ready to lead. Great things are ahead for Richmond County!!!!

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