Allen joins Knotts on Sylva boardWritten by Becky Johnson
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Danny Allen, a former Sylva town commissioner who has been off the board for two years, will reclaim his seat after being the top vote-getter in the town election.
Commissioner Stacy Knotts followed closely on his heels, while Harold Hensley narrowly lost re-election. Hensley said he is not too disappointed, however.
“I will have a lot less headaches,” Hensley joked.
Hensley and Allen shared a similar platform, being closely aligned on most issues, making it unusual that Allen won while Hensley, a sitting town board member, did not.
The chance to serve with Allen again “was the only reason I would have cared to go back on,” Hensley said. Hensley has been in the minority on several split votes defining town board dynamics the past two years.
Two years ago, Allen tied for third place with Town Commissioner Ray Lewis, but rather than holding a run-off election Allen stepped down. Allen was fighting cancer at the time.
Knotts said she was pleased to go back on the board.
“I am excited that I get to work four more years for the town,” said Knotts, a stay-at-home mom.
One of the first decisions facing the town board will be appointing a new member to its ranks. Town Commissioner Maurice Moody will be vacating his seat on the board to become mayor. The other board members will appoint his replacement.
Board members were uncommitted on whether they would appoint the next highest voter-getter in the election to the vacancy.
Hensley said it would make sense to appoint the next highest vote-getter to the vacant seat, which would place him back on the board. Allen and Lewis would likely support such a move since they historically have been in the same camp as Hensley.
But the other two board members — Knotts and Commissioner Sarah Graham — have been on the opposite side of many issues.
While the mayor only votes in the case of a tie, Moody could find himself as the deciding vote in appointing a new board member, who in turn will hold a swing vote on what could otherwise be a split board.
Knotts and Graham have a more progressive platform, while Allen and Lewis have more conservative views. They opposed town funding for the Downtown Sylva Association and the use of tax dollars for the construction of the downtown Bridge Park concert pavilion — two things Knotts and Graham supported.
Sylva had poor voter turnout of only 14 percent of registered voters.
“I was really surprised the turnout was so low,” Knotts said.
But voter Minnie Casey, 83, wasn’t among those who stayed home.
“I just knew I was supposed to vote,” Casey said.
Jim Moffett, 50, also felt it was his civic duty.
“I believe in voting. If you don’t vote, don’t complain. I think we need some new blood in this little town so it doesn’t become stagnant,” said Moffett.
Moffett said controlling development and protecting the environment were the issues that brought him to the polls.
Maurice Moody 174
Seats up for election: 2
Total seats on board: 5
Danny Allen 119
Stacy Knotts (I) 117
Harold Hensley 109
David Kelley 79
Ellerna Bryson Forney 46
Registered voters: 1,684
Voter turnout: 242 (14%)