New Wake County Commissioners Chairman Tony Gurley may want to bring some insulin from his pharmacy at future meetings.
As noted in today's article, it took Commissioner Stan Norwalk citing the need for an insulin shot to end more than eight hours of voting on a vice chairman. At his request, the meeting was recessed until 10 a.m. Wednesday.
Norwalk's health came up several times during the meeting. He has diabetes.
Earlier in the meeting, commissioners agreed to bring in sandwiches and pizza for all of them, but especially for Norwalk. On the sandwich vote, Gurley joined the Democrats in voting yes while Republicans Joe Bryan and Paul Coble voted no.
Coble would ease up later in the meeting, allowing the recess. But that came after all three Republicans voted against two post-midnight votes to recess the meeting or declare a deadlock.
By 1 a.m., Norwalk and Betty Lou Ward were clearly wearing down. As Norwalk told a television news reporter during an in meeting interview, it was coming down to a test of wills.
At 1:13 a.m., Ward introduced a motion to declare the vote deadlocked. This would have meant that current vice chairwoman Lindy Brown kept the seat until a decision was made.
"I’m just plain tired," Ward said after making her motion. "I want to go home."
Norwalk said this issue was an "absolute nit" compared to the other issues they'd face over the next year. He said he wanted to go home now to get some sleep before a doctor's appointment that was scheduled to occur in another seven hours.
"The world isn’t going to come to an end if we defer this vote," Norwalk said. "It’s very sorrowful to me that this goes on and on. I just hate to think of what the rest of this year is going to be like.”
The motion died on a 3-3 party line vote.
After a 15 minute recess, Ward introduced a motion at 1:36 a.m. to recess the meeting until 10:30 a.m. Wednesday. That also died 3-3.
After three more 3-3 votes on the vice chair, Norwalk said at 2:04 a.m. he was concerned about not having had his insulin shot. He said he should have had it two hours ago.
Norwalk added that he felt ok but didn't want to wait longer to take it. He asked "out of collegiality" that they agree to recess until 10 a.m. Wednesday. At this point, they had been meeting for more than 12 hours.
"I will not sit here and put Mr. Norwalk at risk," Coble said.
Gurley said he'd support the motion if they ensure that only the same six members, not all seven, were present Wednesday. If Harold Webb shows up, Democrats would have a 4-3 edge to make Ward the vice chairwoman.
County Attorney Scott Warren said that if both Webb and Norwalk appeared Wednesday, they couldn't exclude either of them from voting.
At this point, Gurley, who is a pharmacist and attorney, suggested recessing while they found an all-night pharmacy that could deliver insulin to Norwalk.
Norwalk offered to not attend Wednesday's meeting if Webb was there. But Ward said he shouldn't make the offer so he withdrew it.
When Norwalk took back the offer, Gurley accused him of using his health to delay the meeting. This drew a sharp response from Ward.
"I don’t really think you can consider this a political move," Ward said. "If he’s ill, he’s ill. If he has a disease, he has a disease. You deal with it. You don’t just ignore that and consider that a political ploy.
Gurley fired back at Ward.
"Mr. Norwalk makes everything a political ploy," Gurley said. "You’ve heard him talk for the entire night. Eveything he says is a political ploy."
After more bickering, Coble reiterated his desire not to risk Norwalk's health, leading to the vote.
"I’m capable of sitting here all night but I’m not willing to put anyone at risk," Coble said, drawing a thank you from Norwalk.
The vote was 5-1 with Gurley the lone dissenter. He cited Norwalk's refusal to skip the Wednesday meeting if Webb is there.
So thus, the meeting was finally recessed until 2:15 a.m.
This blog won't normally get into the workings of the commissioners. But as was noted during the discussion Monday/Tuesday, Norwalk said it's the commissioners who control the purse strings of the school board.