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Greensboro's Streak of One-Term Mayors Continues

6:58 PM, Nov 6, 2013   |    comments
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GREENSBORO, N.C. - What if your boss was fired every two years? Would it make you uncomfortable? Would you rather work somewhere else where the boss has been in charge for more than a decade? Both of these situations are happening with politics in the Triad.

Yvonne Johnson became Greensboro's first black mayor in 2007. Two years later, she was replaced by Bill Knight. Knight couldn't hang on to his seat either, losing to Robbie Perkins. Tuesday, voters put a fourth person in the mayor's chair: Nancy Vaughan.

In Winston-Salem, Allen Joines has been mayor since 2001. Joines said his years in office have helped make companies looking to relocate or expand in Winston-Salem more comfortable.

"Companies don't like surprises. They like a very consistent city government. They like tax rates that are consistent and not going up and down. I think it bodes well when we meet with a company and say we can do something for you, they know that, hopefully, I will be here to carry out what we said we were going to do," Joines said.

Winston-Salem's mayors have four year terms. The elections are partisan. It said right on the ballot that Joines is a Democrat. Greensboro has two-year terms and non-partisan elections.

Wake Forest University Political Science Professor John Dinan says both systems have their pros and cons.

"A four year term gives you more security, more opportunity to take a bit of a long-term perspective. You might be able to make one wrong move, but three or four right moves and they say, 'I'll be judged on those right moves at the end of my four years,'" Dinan said. "In one sense, politics is a little more vibrant in the city level in Greensboro than it is in Winston-Salem. We had a remarkably uncontested election in Winston-Salem and we had a very heavily contested, active election, with a lot of citizen engagement in Greensboro."

Greensboro's Mayor-Elect Nancy Vaughan said she hopes to break Greensboro's recent streak of one-term mayors.

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