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By Peter Vankevich
The Hyde County Board of Commissioners is expected to approve Goldie Rickard Topping as the new Swan Quarter Township commissioner at the board’s monthly meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday, according to Earl Pugh Jr, board chair.
She will replace her husband, James “Little Brother” Topping, who died unexpectedly on June 29. See obituary here.
The meeting will be streamed on the Hyde County Public Information Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/HydeCountyNC. Normally held the first Monday of the month, the meeting was delayed because of Tropical Storm Isaias.
“I’m looking forward to working with the community because I have lived and worked here all my life,” Topping said in an interview. “I want to try to bring more jobs and keep the community up. People are leaving because there are no jobs here.”
Topping graduated from Mattamuskeet High School in 1974. Over the years she has worked at the Cross Creek Nursing Home, Topping’s Lakeside Restaurant and Motel, and as mentor at Mattamuskeet School.
According to Viola Williams, director of Hyde County Board of Elections, if a seat becomes vacant on the board of commissioners, the remaining board members shall appoint a qualified person to fill the vacancy.
The county executive committee for the political party of which the vacating member was a member recommends the replacement within 30 days. The person appointed to fill the vacancy must be a member of the same political party and must live in the electoral district.
Lisa Carawan, executive director of Hyde’s Democrat Party, confirmed that Topping’s name was put forward.
When the vacancy occurs more than 60 days before the next general election, as in this case, the seat with the unexpired term will be placed on the ballot in the upcoming general election, which is Nov. 3.
The remainder of the Swan Quarter Township term ends in 2022, but whomever is appointed to fill the seat now will remain in the seat until Dec. 1, the date Hyde County commissioners are sworn in. The appointee also has the opportunity to run to complete the remaining term. The executive committee for each of the political parties can select a nominee whose name will then be on the ballot for that party.
Carawan and Topping both confirmed that Topping will also be placed on the November ballot to fill out the remaining two years of the term.
Ken Collier, executive director of the Hyde County Republican Party, said today at this time the party does not intend to place a candidate on the ballot in November.
According to statistics provided by the Elections office in February, Swan Quarter has a total of 482 registered voters: 275 Democrats, 59 Republicans, three Libertarians, one Green party and 144 unaffiliated.