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Jim Thompson takes oath of office.
by David Leone
WAKE FOREST — The second last thing Commissioner Frank Drake did before leaving the town board Tuesday was call to attention an errant “p” in a resolution to honor retiring regional planning organization worker Edison Johnson.
“I motion to approve with the deletion of the typo in the third paragraph after 1988,” said Drake.
The significance of the otherwise insignificant notation was that Drake, a contracts attorney, has often taken issue with staffers who sign off on legal language with a misplaced comma here, or outdated language there, that may be misread or misapplied by future boards — and courts.
In that, his final correction was in character with how he has applied himself to his eight years as Wake Forest commissioner.
Drake did not run for re-election.
The last thing he did before exiting was to pass along some bits of advice to his successor, newly-elected Commissioner Jim Thompson.
“The best way to do this job,” he said, is “read up, show up, speak up, vote and then shut up. … You will get your say, but you won’t get your way, unless you can get two people to vote with you.”
And if you are sitting next to Commissioner Margaret Stinnett, he quipped, you’ll know you’re talking too much if you feel a punch under the table.
Commissioners can’t make everyone happy, and they will at some point surely make everyone unhappy, Drake added, noting that Thompson should be prepared to occasionally be confronted on a street corner by an irate resident.
His final bit of Spockian advice: “Try to do the greatest good for the greatest number of people.”
As he stepped down, those in attendance stood up and applauded.
During the short meeting, commissioners approved a consent agenda, including:
•A petition to annex 143 acres off Traditions Grade Boulevard and Oak Grove Church Road for future development in the Traditions neighborhood.
•A 23-acre annexation on the 1200 block of Forestville Road at Foxwild Lane for future development.
•Approval of the second readings for a cleanup amendment to the Unified Development Ordinance, changes to the wireless telecommunications facilities ordinance and designating the South Brick House, 112 E. South Ave., as a local historic landmark.
After Thompson was sworn-in with his wife Hollyn, and children, Nelson, 10, and Lily, 6, by his side, he shared a few words and took his seat.
“I’m just so honored and humbled to be serving as Wake Forest commissioner,” Thompson said. “Wake Forest is a wonderful community that means so much to me. I’m elated to be here and I’m looking forward to serving the town.”
Reelected Mayor Vivian Jones and Commissioner Margaret Stinnett were also sworn-in, thanking the public for believing in them and saying they are honored to serve.
Their first act as a new board was to approve a resolution of appreciation for Drake’s service to the town. Then Thompson made his first motion, to dismiss the meeting.
The motion was approved.