Political newcomer H.L. Beam won the three-way Cherryville mayor’s race Tuesday, and another newcomer, Jill Parker Puett, defeated an incumbent on the City Council.
In unofficial results, Beam had 758 votes to Paulette Sewell-Gibson’s 456 votes and Harvey Patterson’s 104 votes.
Beam, 68, is a partner in a retail pharmacy located on Main Street.
Five-term mayor Bob Austell did not seek re-election.
The three mayoral candidates are all natives of Cherryville.
Six candidates were running for two seats on the City Council.
In Ward 1, incumbent David Kiser Jr. won with 650 votes, followed by Rodney Bowyer with 419 votes and Joe Martin with 214 votes.
In Ward 3, Jill Parker Puett won with 599 votes, followed by incumbent Rick Campbell with 349 votes and Walter Ballard with 347 votes.
Interest ran high in the first municipal election since Cherryville made national headlines in the wake of a corruption scandal that rocked City Hall in the fall of 2012.
An FBI roundup resulted in the arrest of six men, including three Cherryville police officers and a Gaston County sheriff’s deputy. They were accused of conspiring to provide protection to trucks carrying stolen goods and cash.
In January, the former Cherryville finance director was accused of stealing more than $450,000 from the city. Also charged was the former city customer service representative/utility supervisor. Both pleaded guilty. And in June the former police chief pleaded guilty to embezzlement.
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