Frost elected vice chair of Buncombe Board of Commissioners

Commissioner Ellen Frost being sworn in early this year. File photo by Max Cooper

Commissioners voted 6-1 on Dec. 3 to appoint Democratic freshman Ellen Frost to succeed Democrat Holly Jones as vice chair of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners, putting her in a symbolic leadership position as she heads into a reelection year. 

Republican Mike Fryar cast the lone vote against Frost. Both of them represent District 2 on the board, which encompasses Fairview, Weaverville, and Frost’s hometown of Black Mountain. Fryar nominated himself instead, but failed to receive support from any of his colleagues. Neither Frost nor Fryar made the public case for their appointment, providing very little comment at the meeting before or after the vote.

In last year’s contested general election, Frost won a two-year term on the board by only 17 votes, giving Democrat’s a 4-3 majority of the board’s seats. She’s already said she plans to defend her seat next year. Her former GOP opponent, Christina Kelley G. Merrill, is also planning to run again.

Jones, a Democrat, finishes up a one-year term as vice chair, which traditionally has been a ceremonial position with duties mostly limited to presiding over meetings when the chair is absent. However, the job does pay more: Regular commissioners earn $26,475 per year and the vice chair makes $30,732 (the chairmanship pays $34,989). Republican Commissioner Joe Belcher mounted a failed bid for the position against Jones last year.

Current Chair David Gantt, a Democrat, was previously vice chair before defeating Republican Nathan Ramsey in 2008 to earn the top job.


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About Jake Frankel
Jake Frankel is an award-winning journalist who enjoys covering a wide range of topics, from politics and government to business, education and entertainment.

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3 thoughts on “Frost elected vice chair of Buncombe Board of Commissioners

  1. bsummers

    “Republican Mike Fryar cast the lone vote against Frost.”

    Whatta shocker. In Mike’s world, college students would not be allowed to vote, and only property owners could speak at County Commission meetings.

    So a land speculator who just moved here in order to drive property values up & then cash out, he has the right to petition local government, but a lifelong resident who rents his home would have to sit down & shut up.

    Next time somebody accuses liberals of fomenting class warfare, remember who really started it.

    • NFB

      6 to 1. Even Fryar’s fellow Republicans on Commission don’t want him as vice-chair.

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