Ronnie Thompson and Leland Mitchell

Snow Creek District representative Leland Mitchell (right) was chosen as the Franklin County Board of Supervisors new chairman. Boone District representative Ronnie Thompson was named vice chairman.

The Franklin County Board of Supervisors selected its longest-running member to lead them in the new year during an organizational meeting Jan. 2.

Snow Creek District Supervisor Leland Mitchell was chosen as the board’s chairman. He was first elected to the board in 2005, serving nearly a decade longer than a majority of its members.

Supervisors voted 5-2 for Mitchell to serve as chairman following a nomination by Union Hall District Supervisor Tommy Cundiff. Rocky Mount District representative Mike Carter and Boone District representative Ronnie Thompson voted against Mitchell. Carter had nominated Thompson for the chairman position.

“I appreciate your support,” Mitchell said following the vote. “I pledge to you my support in the coming year.”

For the vice chairman position, newly elected Blackwater District representative Ronald Mitchell nominated Thompson. He was chosen by a unanimous vote.

While adopting its rules and procedures for the new year, board members discussed changes in how citizens are allowed to comment during meetings. Comments currently are limited to three minutes for an individual and five if someone is speaking for a larger group.

Anyone interested in commenting at a meeting must also notify the board 10 days in advance. Carter asked that the advance notification requirement be removed. Newly elected Gills Creek representative Lorie Smith agreed.

“To me it seems very restrictive and it seems very limiting,” Smith said. “We need to hear from the public.”

Thompson said he was in favor of the change, but wanted to see it at the end of the meeting rather than the beginning as it has been in recent years. Multiple public comments could possibly interrupt the meeting schedule, he said.

After several minutes discussing public comments, Carter moved to have a vote on the issue delayed until a later meeting.

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