Bill Crowell appointed Tryon commissioner; Mayor Wright resigns

Published 12:15 am Wednesday, November 18, 2015

By Leah Justice

For a few hours on Tuesday, Nov. 17, Tryon Town Council was down to three members from five.

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Tryon Mayor Jim Wright submitted his resignation Tuesday afternoon just prior to the town’s November meeting where Bill Crowell was appointed to fill an open seat left by former Tryon commissioner Happy McLeod. McLeod resigned on Nov. 6.

Remaining commissioners George Baker and Bill Ingham appointed Crowell to fill McLeod’s seat. Commissioner and mayor pro-tem Roy Miller ran the meeting in Wright’s absence and announced during his commissioner comments near the end of the meeting that Wright had resigned.

In appointing Crowell as a town commissioner, Baker said since McLeod had a runner up in the 2013 election that is who the town should appoint. Crowell ran for Tryon commissioner in 2013 and lost by 71 votes to McLeod. In 2013, commissioner Ingham was the high vote getter with McLeod winning the second open seat.

The recent 2015 election included Alan Peoples winning the mayor seat over Wright and Crys Armbrust being the high vote getter for commissioner and Miller retaining his commissioner seat. Doug Arbogast lost this year’s election behind Miller by 20 votes, with Baker losing his commissioner seat this year by 33 votes.

During the decision to appoint Crowell, Ingham said Crowell is a tireless worker for the town, that he’s dedicated, attends every festival, every function and spends his own money for the town.

Crowell was sworn into office following his appointment and joined the other three commissioners for the remainder of Tuesday’s meeting. Crowell’s seat will expire in 2017.

Crowell thanked Baker, Ingham and Miller for bringing him on board. He said he’s been in Tryon 33 years and is “going to do my best for Tryon.”

Wright turned in a short letter of resignation Tuesday afternoon to town manager Joey Davis.

“I am resigning, effective immediately,” said Wright in his resignation letter. “It is not appropriate for me to participate further in town business including filling the vacant commissioner position. I have turned in my keys and have no other town property.”

Miller announced Wright’s resignation and said it’s been a hard couple of weeks for the town.

“As you notice we are without commissioner McLeod and we’re without our mayor who actually resigned today,” said Miller.

Miller said the town has been in turmoil but his hope is the incoming board will work together effectively for the citizens of Tryon.

“I definitely think that given the circumstances over the last couple of weeks that there needs to be some healing, there needs to be some apologies to the citizens,” Miller said. “We’re elected by the citizens to serve the citizens to the end.”

Miller also said he hopes this situation never happens again and thanked residents for coming to the meeting and for allowing him to serve again.

“I don’t know if I will make it for four years, but I can tell you that I will not quit,” said Miller.

Peoples, Armbrust and Miller will be sworn into office during the town’s Dec. 15 meeting. They will join other commissioners Ingham and Crowell.