This is my last article for the Island Review as mayor of Emerald Isle. I have been mayor of Emerald Isle for 12 years and I have written about 140 articles, trying not to repeat myself and writing about non-controversial topics. There always seems to be something going on in Emerald Isle that is of interest to many citizens. The new mayor is Eddie Barber and he will take office December 10. Diane and I wish him the best of luck and hope he has as much fun as we have had over the last 12 years.
Diane and I moved to Emerald Isle in November 1993 mostly in retirement mode with the idea of me picking up some type of job just to stay busy. At the time I was 50 years old and my friends said “you are going to be bored to death”. Well there hasn’t been a boring minute since we have been here. I did some computer programming work for the Division of Marine Fisheries, did some work for Taylor Extended Care in Sea Level, and then got sought by Ward and Smith attorneys in New Bern to help them with a computer installation. I stayed with them 5 years working on different projects, and have been back twice since then to help them with other projects.
It is not unusual for towns to have controversy on their Board of Commissioners and in early 2001 that was the case in Emerald Isle. I figured if I could be an administrative manager for two different law firms for 15 years, that I should be able to be an effective mayor of a small town. As an administrative manager of a law firm, you work for all of the attorneys, and if you have 50 attorneys, you have at least 75 opinions, because many have more than one opinion. Not really that much different than citizens in a town.
I get lots of comments from people saying that they “wouldn’t be able to put up with all of the complaints”. In Emerald Isle, the compliments far outweigh any complaints. Many things that might be viewed as a complaint are actually a concern or misunderstanding. Always great clearing up a misunderstanding and everybody leaves happy. As I like to say, Emerald Isle is the nice place it is because of the work of elected officials, town employees, citizens, business owners, and others since it was incorporated in 1957. There have been times that I have been a little disgusted, but I can honestly say that in all cases something good has happened within a couple of hours that overshadowed whatever bothered me.
Emerald Isle citizens, second home owners, business owners, and visitors are the best. Diane and I have enjoyed meeting the many people over the years. This past year, I spent a good amount of time in Raleigh and often wore a windbreaker with “Town of Emerald Isle” on it. It is totally amazing how many people comment about how nice Emerald Isle is.
We don’t know for sure what we will be doing, but we will be staying in Emerald Isle and will be doing more traveling and I will be playing more golf. Pete Leo, Emerald Isle resident and Commissioner in the 1980s made a comment years ago that pretty well sums up my feelings. “I made everybody happy. The people that elected me were happy, hopefully I made a few more people happy while I was in office, and the rest are happy that I am out of office.”
Thanks for giving us the opportunity to serve our community.
Art and Diane Schools