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Byrd named to South Boston Council / February 15, 2018

South Boston Council on Monday appointed Michael C. Byrd to fill a vacancy created by the recent death of late Councilman Billy Clarke.

Byrd will hold the seat until a special election can be held May 1 to elect a new council member.

Byrd has picked up a candidate packet to run for the seat, according to Halifax County Registrar Heather Harding, who added that Byrd has the option of running to serve out Clarke’s unexpired term, through 2020, or seek a full four-year term. Harding said she said she is not sure which option Byrd will pursue.

“We won’t know until he completes filing his petitions which are due on March 6 at 7 p.m. which way he is going,” Harding said.

Council members tapped Byrd after interviewing him and two other contenders for the seat: Ken Buckley and Allan Smith. The interviews took place prior to the regular monthly council meeting.

Harding, the voter registrar, noted that Buckley has also picked up a candidate packet to qualify for the May 1 special election, ahead of the March 6 filing deadline.

In his resume submitted to Council, Byrd noted that he currently serves as the associate minister of Berry Hill Baptist Church of South Boston, where he has ministered since 2012.

His work experience includes managing a team of 42 technicians for Comcast Cable, traveling extensively through the Blue Ridge area working with cable installations for commercial and residential customers. He has also worked to provide customer satisfaction for the past two years.

Byrd earlier pastored the Union Grove CME Church in South Boston and in 2009 at St. Paul CME Church in Savannah, Ga.

In his resume, he wrote, “I gained considerable leadership skills during my tenure as a pastor leading congregations with various sized memberships over the past 36 years. This has allowed me to effectively serve individuals on all levels of the customer experience.

“I also bring to the table strong computer proficiencies in MS Word, MS Excel and other Microsoft Office skills as well as knowledge of various telecommunications programs. My four years in college majoring in accounting with minor studies in marketing and economics have given me an administrative edge in understanding budgetary concerns and overall business operational procedure.”

In other business on Monday night, Council received an update from Town Manager Tom Raab about plans for the demolition of the Riverdale building which formerly housed Ray’s Key Shop. Raab noted that the building contains asbestos which must be removed before the building can be demolished.

He also updated Council members on plans for a boat launch site on the Dan River just below the Tucker Watkins Bridge. The concrete foundation of a razed tobacco warehouse which was owned by John Cannon and Ward Burton will be used for parking at the launch site.

The launch will tie into the Southern Virginia Wild Blueway from Leggetts Bottom to Staunton River State Park on the Dan River, which also ties into the King’s Bridge Landing on the Banister River in Halifax.

Council also heard from Vinny Sarnataro about his plans for a second Strawberry Festival in the spring. Sarnataro held the first such event last spring and drew a big crowd for games, music as well as free food and door prizes. All proceeds from the event were divided between two civic groups, Misunderstood and the Halifax Dog Squad. Sarnataro has not yet announced the date for this year’s proposed festival or which groups will receive the proceeds.

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