Tarboro Ward 4 Councilman Jim Alford received news by phone late Tuesday night that he had lost his re-election bid. The 12-year veteran councilman didn't gripe or moan, instead wishing his successor the best.
In a three-candidate race, Alford finished last behind J.O. Williams and winner Carol Furlough Ruffin. Ruffin was one of four newcomers voted onto the council.
"For 12 years we had excellent cooperation between the council," Alford said. "I hope it doesn't stop. I hope the new council and the old council take their jobs seriously and do what's best for the town."
The retired Sprint employee served three terms and six months on the council. The additional six months were added because the redistricting maps were not prepared for the scheduled November 2011 primary.
As a council member, he was appointed to the Regional Council of Government, N.C. Eastern and Municipality Power Agency.
"He did an admirable job representing his ward and the Town of Tarboro," said Tarboro Mayor Donald Morris. "I certainly hope Mr. Alford does will in his future endeavors. I thank him for his service."
Alford said he cherished every day he served. Alford said he decided to delve in politics after he retired. Twelve years later, he had become a seasoned politician who loved his job.
"I enjoyed every minute of it," he said. "It was the best thing that I've ever done."
Alford became known for speaking passionately during council meetings on issues in which he believed. One issue he fought he is most proud of took money out of his pocket.
"I missed a meeting because my son had died and the council voted on giving themselves a raise," Alford said. "The very next meeting I objected to it because it was not the right thing to do. We did not need to spend the town money like that. I spoke up and we did the right thing and rescinded the vote."
Alford said he is also proud of the condition in which he is leaving the town, pointing out that, "Tarboro is solvent and we don't have any debts."
One of Alford's disappointments is the town's failure to renovate River Front Park into a unique recreational site. Plans were made to modify the area into an exquisite park, however, "the funds ran out," he said. "I hope they continue to work on it. I would like to see a nice park, not exactly like the one in Greenville, but one that will improve the existing site."
Alford's last day as a councilman will be Monday, June 11, when the town holds its regularly scheduled monthly meeting. He plans on attending and doing like he has done during his tenure before leaving with the mindset of a watchdog.
"I've done the right thing and I'm proud of what I did," he said. "I tried to give the best for my town, my ward and my family. Now, I will sit at home and watch the new council — and keep score."