NORTH TOPSAIL BEACH – The Town of North Topsail Beach will soon have a new mayor.
The Onslow County Board of Elections is scheduled to meet March 24 to certify the results of the North Topsail Beach municipal election, action that will make official the write-in upset by current town Mayor Pro Tem Joann McDermon to take the mayor’s seat.
McDermon filed as a candidate for re-election to the alderman seat and simultaneously ran a successful write-in campaign for the mayor’s seat during the Nov. 5 municipal election.
Get the news delivered to your inbox: Sign up for our daily newsletters
Incumbent Mayor Dan Tuman protested the outcome of the election claiming McDermon should be disqualified as a mayoral candidate because she filed as a candidate for the NTB Board of Alderman.
Tuman’s appeals reached Wake County Superior Court, but took a turn Thursday when Tuman announced his resignation from the mayor’s seat and a voluntary dismissal of the case was entered, according to State Board of Elections attorney Kelly Tornow.
The Board of Aldermen held an emergency meeting Friday morning, in part to acknowledge Tuman’s retirement and years of public service to the town and to confer mayoral power to the mayor pro tem until the election results are certified and McDermon takes office as the new town mayor.
McDermon said Friday the transition comes at a difficult time with response to the coronavirus pandemic, but she is glad to see a resolution to the election results.
"I’m glad we are able to move forward; I’m not happy we’re trying to do this with everything going on during virus (response) but we’ll work through things," McDermon said prior to the meeting.
Once McDermon is sworn into office as mayor, the town will have to make an appointment to fill the alderman seat she was re-elected to and has been holding while awaiting a resolution in the mayoral results.
Tuman was not immediately available for comment but notified town officials and members of the town board Thursday that he was resigning his position.
"I've decided to discontinue any further action on my election protest concerning last November's NTB mayoral contest. Instead, I've decided to retire from public life and am resigning from my position as mayor effective immediately," Tuman wrote in the message sent via email with a copy of the stipulation of voluntary dismissal court document attached.
Tornow said the action by Tuman followed on the heels of a Wednesday hearing in Wake County Superior Court in the case of Tuman vs. the State Board of Elections.
The attorneys on each side were working on a draft order for the judge to review and sign when Tuman announced his resignation.
While there was never a final ruling, Tornow said there was indication that the case would have been remanded back to the local Board of Elections.
"The order had not been drafted yet, but the judge required the parties to draft an order to remand the case to the county board of elections for a protest hearing to determine when Ms. McDermon began actively campaigning as a write-in candidate for mayor., Tornow wrote in response to questions from The Daily News. "If she began actively campaigning for mayor after the time she could have withdrawn from the board of alderman race, he seemed to indicate that this would not disqualify her as a write-in candidate for mayor. If she began actively campaigning prior to that time, then he indicated that would disqualify her as a write-in candidate for mayor and a vacancy would be created for that office."
Reporter Jannette Pippin can be reached at 910-382-2557 or Jannette.Pippin@JDNews.com.