Sandhills Sentinel is doing an overview of all the mayoral races in Moore County for the upcoming election. Today, we are looking at the race for mayor in Pinehurst.

There are two candidates vying to replace Mayor Nancy Fiorillo who chose to not run for re-election. The candidates are Claire Berggren and John Strickland.

Each candidate was provided a list of questions that they responded in a phone interview or written form. Their responses may have been lightly edited for brevity, clarity, and grammatical corrections. The candidates are listed in alphabetical order.

Claire Berggren

Do you have family members, and how do they feel about you running for office?

Yes, I have a husband and three stepchildren. My parents also live in my neighborhood. The kids, who are teenagers, roll their eyes, but they wear the t-shirts. My husband and parents are very supportive, protective and wish me success in my campaign for mayor of Pinehurst.

How long have you lived in the area?

I’ve been a full-time Pinehurst resident since 2000.

Have you served in any elected or volunteer roles?

Yes, I was elected as a Pinehurst Council member and served a four-year term.  I’m a board member of the Given Tufts Library, Sister Cities and I’ve also been a board member of Friend to Friend. I’ve done volunteer work at my church. I was a tutor at the Moore County Literacy Council and have helped other area organizations since I’ve lived here.

What is your job/occupation?

Marketing

What are you most proud of in your town/village?

Its quaint ambiance and history.  We’ve maintained that for over 100 years now. It’s also supported by a staff of high performing professionals.

What are your priorities if you are elected?

To have the new council get settled and begin work on our strategic plan.  We also need to determine which objectives from the new Long-Range Comprehensive Plan that we would like to begin to work on and prioritize those.  Next will be to update the Pinehurst Development Ordinance (PDO) to reflect the priorities of the council so staff can begin to implement it.

What area needs the most improvement?

Pinehurst has a lot going for it already, and our surveys indicate high satisfaction from its citizens and businesses, so we have to keep up the good work, but we have to develop our policies and budget to address our changing demographics, population increase, and the impact those changes have on our public services. We also have to continue to work with surrounding municipalities, NC DOT, and the county because we each have a direct impact on one another.

What are your goals for the first 90 days you are in office?

Onboard the new council members. Determine the council meeting schedule and who will represent the council at various organizations within the county. Conduct the annual Strategic Planning session and ensure all council members are up to speed on the new Comprehensive Plan. Begin the early steps in the budget planning process.

John Strickland

Do you have family members, and how do they feel about you running for office?

My family has been actively involved in my campaign to be the next Mayor of Pinehurst.  I am thankful for the time and support they are giving.

How long have you lived in the area?

My wife, Cynthia, and I moved to Pinehurst in 2005 when I retired from a 30+ year career in banking and finance.  However, I have had the privilege of visiting Pinehurst during the years my grandparents and parents lived here, which goes back many decades.  I attended UNC-Chapel Hill and of course made my way to Pinehurst during those college years.

Have you served in any elected or volunteer roles?

I have served on the Pinehurst Neighborhood Advisory Committee, the Historic Preservation Commission, and the 2010 Long Range Plan Commission.  I was elected to the Pinehurst Village Council and served from 2011-15.  During that time, I was also Village Treasurer.  I am a board member of two not for profit organizations: The Village Heritage Foundation and the Pinehurst Community Foundation.

What is your job/occupation?

Retired.

What are you most proud of in your town/village?

I am proud of the high level of services that the Village government provides to our citizens.  But dramatic population growth in southern Moore County is putting pressure on the provision of those services, on the infrastructure required to support those services, and on the underlying quality of life which we want for all our citizens, in each of our many neighborhoods.

What are your priorities if you are elected?

If elected, a key priority with my Council colleagues and the village staff, will be to prepare for the annual Strategic Operating Plan in early December.

What area needs the most improvement?

I feel the biggest challenge we have, which will require the attention of the new Village Council, will be to adopt policies to carefully plan future growth and calculate the long term cost to Pinehurst residents.

What are your goals for the first 90 days you are in office?

We need to coordinate plans for traffic and development with our sister towns of Whispering Pines, Southern Pines, Aberdeen, and Foxfire.  And we need to work closely with our two largest employers and stakeholders: First Health and Pinehurst Resort. Together we can maintain the quality of life that brought our residents here while planning for the future.

Early voting runs through November 1. The election is November 5. You can find more information on the Moore County Board of Elections website.

Sandhills_SentinelLocal News/Government Reporter Chris Prentice.
Contact him at chris@sandhillssentinel.com or (910) 639-9303

 

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