Two of the five seats on the Sylva town board are up for election. Both incumbents are running for re-election and will face three additional challengers.
The mayor’s seat is up for election as well, but Mayor Brenda Oliver chose not to run after 17 years at the helm and a total of 28 years on the town board. Oliver said she was simply ready to step down and that the town was likewise ready for new leadership.
Town Commissioner Maurice Moody is running unopposed for mayor. Moody’s seat is not up for election this year, so when he transitions to the post of mayor in December, he will leave a vacant spot on the town board. The other board members will appoint his replacement. Board members were uncommitted on whether they would appoint the next highest voter getter in the election to the vacancy.
Stacy Knotts, 38
Knotts has served on the board four years. This election, Knotts once again went door to door, visiting an estimated 500 residents.
“It was great. I got to hear from the residents in all different neighborhoods. I got to hear about things they liked as well as what they are concerned about. It was a big variety of things. The great thing is I can start working on them right now.”
Harold Hensley, 72
Retired maintenance supervisor for Jackson County Schools
Hensley has served on the board four years.
“There’s lots of money spent that I don’t think should be spent. I have pushed hard for cuts, real hard. There is no sense in every time you turn around you have to look at the taxpayers to bail you out.”
Danny Allen, 53
Not currently employed due to health reasons
Formerly a Sylva police officer and manager of Quinn Theater
“I just don’t think the board is a good representation of the whole town. The present board is catering to select groups. They are not seeing the overall needs of the people.”
David Kelley, 32
Works at Livingston’s Photo and is a Realtor with WNC Brokers
Kelley has no overwhelming desire to alter the town’s course. He thinks the current board is doing “an adequate job” and isn’t advocating for change per say. So why is he running?
“The town has been a big part of my life all my life, so I felt the need for a voice.”
Ellerna Bryson Forney
Could not be reached for comment.