An Iredell County hospital executive will fill the Statesville City Council’s Ward 6 seat, which was vacated in October, when former Councilman Flake Huggins resigned.
By a 5-2 vote, the City Council voted Nov. 17 to appoint Keith Williams, director of patient financial services for Iredell Health Systems, to replace Huggins.
Huggins, who had been charged with two felonies related to the 2011 elections, resigned as part of a plea bargain.
The selection followed in-depth interviews with Williams and Fredrick Foster, two of the three candidates who responded to the city’s call for a Ward 6 replacement.
The third, Juan “J.D.” Williams, who is no relation to Keith Williams, declined to be interviewed by the council. He was the closest runner-up in the November 2011 runoff election, and he later said he refused an interview as a “protest to the process” because the council didn’t pick him him as Huggins’ replacement.
Keith Williams received five votes to replace Huggins, while J.D. Williams captured two votes. Mayor Pro Tem Mike Johnson was unable to attend but participated in the meeting by phone, so his vote could count.
Keith Williams will formally take the oath of office at the council’s Dec. 1 meeting and will serve through November 2015.
“I was raised and still live in Ward 6,” Williams wrote in his letter of intent to the city “and I’ve witnessed some triumphant and some distressful moments over the years. Many challenges still face the city; however, I also see opportunities for progress.
“It’s imperative that our community builds upon its accomplishments and learn from its inaccuracies. My desire is to help the council execute a vision of prosperity and harmony within each neighborhood throughout our great city.”
Williams, 49, has worked in the health care industry for over 30 years. He has also served on the Iredell-Statesville Board of Education, the Iredell County Department of Social Services Board, the county’s United Way Board and the Iredell Christian Ministers Board.
His father, Willie Williams Sr., also served as a councilman after the ward system was established in the 1980s.
Huggins was in his fourth term as Ward 6 councilman when he resigned. He was indicted by a grand jury in March 2012 on charges of aiding and abetting illegal voting and obstruction of justice.
Investigators said Huggins had relatives lie about their addresses so they could vote in the November 2011 Ward 6 runoff race, which he won. His trial had been postponed numerous times prior to the plea deal reached Oct. 6.