Local News

After 4-Month Stalemate, Cary Council Seat Filled

Posted February 11, 2007 3:57 p.m. EST
Updated February 11, 2007 8:38 p.m. EST

— The town of Cary once again has a complete Town Council, after members picked Erv Portman to fill a seat that was empty since July.

“It was frustrating that it took as long as it did,” Portman said.

Portman, a local businessman, was one of 37 people who applied for the at-large council seat left by Mike Joyce.

“We wanted to spend a lot of time, making the right decision there and making sure we got the right person,” said Cary Mayor Ernie McAlister.

By September, Council members had selected two finalists -- Portman, a Democrat, and Dick Domann, a Republican. The council became deadlocked in a 3-3 stalemate for almost five months.

Council members were getting frustrated, so Councilman Jack Smith made phone calls and worked up four potential votes for another candidate. Don Hyatt, webmaster of carypolitics.org, has run for the Town Council twice and lost. The prospect of Hyatt shifted votes over to Portman.

“I think Jack Smith deserves a lot of the credit for having tried to be creative and tried to break the impasse,” Portman said.

It’s a stalemate that McAlister said was only over the vacant council seat.

“There were no situations where the town deadlocked on a decision that affected the town's business with the exception of filling this seat,” he said,

Portman said his priorities are to make good with Cary's neighbors and make sure the downtown area thrives.

“I hope to be respectful of other people's decisions, input, or opinions if they disagree and try to find common ground,” Portman said. “I think that's what local government is all about.”

Portman will be sworn in Feb. 22 at the next Town Council meeting. His at-large seat is up for re-election in October, along with two other Council seats and the mayor's.