The mood at Alamance County’s headquarters was bittersweet Monday morning as the county’s board of commissioners welcomed three new members after bidding farewell to a trio of long-time commissioners, including the late William H. Lashley.
Lashley, who was known universally as “Bill,” had already planned to retire after November’s general election along with fellow incumbent commissioners Tim Sutton and Eddie Boswell. Yet, his unexpected death on November 28 left a conspicuous gap on the dais when the outgoing board convened for the last time this morning.
Much of today’s proceedings were given over to tributes in honor of Lashley’s 22-year-long career on the county’s governing board. Among those who eulogized the deceased county commissioner was Tim Sutton, who recalled the generosity that his late colleague had shown throughout their two-decades plus on the board of commissioners. Sutton said that he continued to benefit from Lashley’s generosity when the pair waged their final bid for the board in 2016.
“He talked me into running,” the outgoing commissioner recalled. “He basically said we need each other…and I said ‘it would be hard to do it without you’…He said we’re going to run ads together…He showed me a copy of an ad he had drawn up and it said vote for Tim Sutton and Bill Lashley. He had put his name second.”
Other members of the board praised Lashley’s unyielding conservatism and his devotion to the county even if they couldn’t claim to have been as closely aligned to the late county commissioner as Sutton. Amy Scott Galey, the outgoing chairman of Alamance County’s commissioners, also commended Lashley for exhibiting a genuineness that she admitted is rare in electoral politics.
“There’s a quality that people often talk about in politics and that’s authenticity,” Galey told the rest of the board. “This man bill Lashley had authenticity. He had more authenticity than some people knew what to do with at times…and I am blessed to have gotten to know Bill Lashley for who he truly was.”
Galey went on to present Lashley’s widow Peggy with a framed resolution and a aerial photo of Court Square in honor of her late husband.
But perhaps the most poignant remarks about the deceased commissioner came from his son William T. Lashley, who won his own seat on the county’s governing board in last month’s election. After he was sworn in along with the other two newly-elected commissioners, the younger Bill Lashley shared a few words about the influence of his deceased father.
“I’ve had a good mentor,” the newly-installed commissioner said of the elder Bill Lashley, “and it’s very wonderful to know that so many people cared about him.”
In addition to these tributes for Lashley, today’s meeting also brought some parting accolades for the county’s other outgoing commissioners. Galey, for her part, noted the vast institutional knowledge that the county will lose with the departures of Boswell and Sutton. Meanwhile, the board’s vice chairman Steve Carter paid Sutton an added compliment by proposing that he be given the purely honorary title of Alamance County’s “historian emeritus.”
Once the new board had been sworn in, it unanimously approved Carter’s suggestion to confer this newly-honorific title on Sutton.