Supervisors to honor longtime official

Published 6:00 am Monday, November 10, 2008

The Lincoln County Board of Supervisors is preparing to honor alongtime public servant who passed away earlier this year.

A framed resolution commemorating the life and service of formerLincoln County Election Commissioner John Hightower Jr. will bepresented to his widow, Josie Hightower, at the next board meetingon Nov. 17. Hightower passed away at age 76 on May 21 during his28th year as an election commissioner.

“It’s a resolution commemorating his life and service to thecommunity, and for being a gentleman and a tremendous asset toLincoln County,” said Lincoln County Chancery Clerk TillmonBishop.

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Bishop said the board had discussed passing the Hightowerresolution before, but never acted. The decision was spurred intoaction during last Monday’s meeting when Hightower’s widowapproached the board.

She entered the meeting and spoke angrily at the board for notcalling her with condolences when her husband passed away, chargingits members with discrimination for not appointing her to fill hisunexpired term on the election commission.

Hightower requested and was awarded a closed meeting for herdiscussion with the board. The decision by the board to go into anexecutive session to discuss the matter may have violated thestate’s open meetings law.

Before the meeting was closed, Hightower said she did not receivethe respect shown to Veda Givens, the wife of former supervisorCliff Givens; and Floye McClelland, the wife of former electioncommissioner Bernard McClelland. Both wives were appointed to fillthe remainder of their husbands’ terms in office when the officialspassed away.

“I should have been offered that position,” Hightower said during aphone call afterward. “Of course [I wanted to be appointed]. Whynot? But they didn’t even contact me.”

Brookhaven School District Assistant Superintendent James Tillman,who was appointed by the board on the recommendation of presidentthe Rev. Jerry Wilson to fill the remainder of Hightower’s term,secured the position Tuesday in an unopposed election.