Hickory City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to appoint Jeff Cline as the new mayor of the city, filling the vacancy left by former Mayor Rudy Wright’s sudden death last week.
Cline will be sworn in on June 6 and serve the remainder of Wright’s term, the city said.
Wright was found dead at his home last Thursday after serving as the city’s mayor since 2001. Police at the time said the death didn’t appear to be suspicious. His family released a statement citing mental illness and depression.
Cline, of Hickory, is the senior vice president for BB&T Insurance Services. He served on the Hickory City Council from 1995 to 1999, and as president of the Catawba County Chamber of Commerce.
“This is a solemn and surreal time for our community and I want to reassure our citizens that the work of Mayor Wright goes forth and continues,” Cline said in a statement. “He was my friend and we worked closely together on the bond referendum. His vision for the city was thrilling and we will work to implement that vision.”
Mayor Pro-Tem Vernon Tarlton will continue to serve as mayor until Cline is sworn in, the city said.
LaVendrick Smith; 704-358-5101; @LaVendrickS