The chair and vice-chair of the Moore County Board of Education changed seats Monday morning in a pair of split votes to determine the board’s new leadership.

The board voted 4-3 to appoint Pam Thompson as the new board chair in an organizational meeting at the start of the board working session agenda. Both votes were taken behind closed doors.

Libby Carter, who has served as president for the past two years, proposed Thompson for consideration. Robert Levy was also nominated, by Philip Holmes. The vote took place without discussion.

“It’s a privilege to have been nominated first, and then an honor and a privilege, in the hope of leading this great team in a school district that I love,” Thompson said after the lawyer of the Board of Directors, Neal Ramee, read the vote count. “It has been a good year and we think it will be another good year to come.”

Thompson is serving her second full term on the Board of Trustees after being first elected in 2006. She then served on the Board of Trustees of Sandhills Community College before being appointed to the Board of Trustees in 2015 in a seat general. She lost an election to Carter in 2016 when the board grew from eight to seven, but was elected to represent the Robbins area in 2018.

The vote for vice president was more controversial after Ed Dennison nominated Carter for the seat. Holmes nominated David Hensley, who declined the nomination and proceeded with the nomination of Levy.

Ahead of the vote, Hensley voiced his objections to Carter continuing to hold a leadership position on the board. Hensley accused Carter of “mistreating the public” in the past year.

Due to room capacity restrictions linked to the pandemic, the board strictly enforced an audience limit during board meetings held at the central office. Hensley, Levy and Holmes repeatedly insisted that meetings be moved to a larger location, such as a gymnasium or school auditorium.

But due to security concerns following a secular voicemail message left at Moore County schools in September, board meetings were kept in the more controlled environment of central office. As a result, a few dozen people had to wait outside during regular board meetings, only allowed to speak inside during the designated public comment period.

“Under his leadership, the Presidency had citizens standing outside in the cold, standing outside in the cold in armed guard with four Moore County school policemen standing threateningly in front of them, armed security guards treating them like criminals.” , Hensley said. “I don’t want this person as president. I don’t want that person as vice-president.

Moore County Schools released a tape of this voicemail message last month. In it, an appellant makes statements such as “we’re coming after you and we’re not going to be nice” to protest the ongoing student mask warrants.

Board member Dennison and Stacey Caldwell both voiced their support for Carter before taking the vote.

“We were limited in seats for this meeting, our ORS didn’t attract them like they were criminals. All the people who came knew exactly what the situation would be before they came. Everyone who wanted to speak signed up, everyone who signed up got to speak, ”Dennison said.

“It has been shown in our meetings that the public cannot control themselves sometimes, so we do what we need to do.”

Carter was then named vice president in another 4-3 vote.