Thank you for being one of our most loyal readers. Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing.
SELMA — Mayor Cheryl Oliver said she looks forward to working with incoming council members Byron McAllister and Joe Scarboro.
McAllister and Scarboro ousted incumbents Tommy Holmes and Mike Peterson on Nov. 5, making this the first time the council has an African American majority. McAllister and Scarboro join Mayor Pro-tem Jackie Lacy, who had been the only African American council member. Oliver and Councilwoman Ann Williams are white.
“Based on comments our new council members made at the two candidates’ forums that were held in Selma, both of them sincerely care about Selma and want to offer their time and talents to our town,” said Oliver. “They are committed to continuing to move Selma forward. I look forward to working with them.”
A self-described stay-at-home dad, McAllister said he offers a fresh perspective on the town council. He and his family purchased a home in Selma in 2016. After renovations, they moved to Selma in 2017. Their two daughters attend Selma Elementary School. They have two young sons at home.
McAllister said once he and his wife settled in Selma, they made community involvement a top priority. He said they have participated in community activities through Selma Parks and Recreation.
“Last year, we helped form the Selma Elementary School Parent Teacher Community organization that I currently preside over,” said McAllister. “Our family has been blessed to find a wonderful church home at Edgerton Memorial United Methodist Church.”
McAllister said as Selma grows, it’s important to have the many different viewpoints of the town’s residents heard and represented by the council.
“We must understand what current residents want for the town while being mindful of what will attract our future residents,” said McAllister. “We have recently as a town purchased and repaired a pool. The town, with the help of local donors, has turned a historic building into an impressive civic center. The town of Selma unveiled a veterans memorial, funded by private donations, at Selma Memorial Gardens.
“These accomplishments have proven that we can do anything when we put our minds to it. It’s time to turn our full attention to the maintenance of our infrastructure,” said McAllister.
McAllister said he and Oliver have enjoyed positive conversations since the election.
Scarboro, 70, is retired and has served as a corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps, where he was a military police officer. He graduated from Richard B. Harrison High School and Johnston Community College.
He worked for Sylvania in Smithfield for 14 years. Then he worked for Channel Master for 18 years as a receiving supervisor. He retired from Grifols as a technician in 2013 following an 11-year tenure with the Clayton company.
Scarboro has been married for 43 years to wife Nora. They have two sons, Jeremy, who died at age 16, and Joel.
The Scarboros established the Jeremy LeShawn Scarboro scholarship 25 years ago. It’s administered by the Johnston County Education Scholarship Fund and awarded each year to a Smithfield-Selma High School graduate.
“We, the people, need to work together and get things accomplished,” said Scarboro. “We need to revitalize downtown Selma. It’s time to get up, get out and get it done.”
Scarboro said it having a black majority on the town council shouldn’t matter.
“My thing is that race shouldn’t be significant,” said Scarboro. “If we have the same goal, it doesn’t matter our color. Maybe it will inspire other black young people to get out and help. I hope can spur someone on. “
“We can sit around and complain about things,” said Scarboro. “But until we decide to get up and go, we’ll never get anything accomplished. We need to let the people know we care.”
The Scarboros attend Selma Baptist Church where Selma’s new councilman-elect serves as an usher.
Scarboro said he received a congratulatory call from Oliver on election night and from Town Manager Steven Hicks the next day welcoming him to the council.