Billy Lockamy has served Sampson County well during his eight years as a member of the Sampson County Board of Commissioners, a tenure which will end with his term in 2016.
Lockamy announced he would not seek a third term on the county board earlier this week, instead throwing his support behind political newcomer Jerol Kivett, who announced his candidacy Thursday when he filed for the District 2 seat (see story on Page A1).
The commissioner’s announcement that he wouldn’t run again took us by surprise on the one hand, knowing his love for Sampson County and his desire to serve the citizens here. But on the other, we understood completely his adamant statement that “eight years is long enough.”
For Lockamy what that means is that after eight years he wants to devote more time to his family, his business and one of his recreational loves – riding motorcycles.
He has earned the right to do so. After all, no one really knows how much commitment is really necessary for those in public service.
Many people believe that service comes once or twice a month, for a few hours, when commissioners meet in regular or special session to discuss the county’s business. Truth is, those are the least of the hours public servants give to the positions they are elected to. Between the phone calls, the encounters at the grocery store, gas station, barbershop or restaurant, and the countless hours of deliberations within one’s own conscience regarding those difficult decisions that often have to be made, the time they serve can be nearly endless.
It’s part of what they sign up for, no doubt, but it has to take its toll year after year.
As a county commissioner during some of Sampson’s most tumultuous government years, there’s little doubt Lockamy’s hours of service ticked off the charts from year to year.
So it’s no wonder he’s ready to pass the baton. In fact, it’s understandable.
It’s also commendable. Lockamy said in an interview about his decision not to run that he believed it was time to give someone else an opportunity to serve, to make their own mark on this county’s history. It’s a nice way to bow out and we applaud the current commissioners chairman for his willingness to do so.
We also thank Lockamy for his eight years of service. While we’ve not always agreed with his decisions, we have always known that the votes he took were done with a clear conscience and a bend toward what he believed was the right thing to do for Sampson and its residents.
There’s no question Lockamy put his heart into the position voters afforded him, and he has served – and we believe will continue to serve – admirably.
Our hat is off to Lockamy for his public service, for his love and commitment to the county and for the example he sets in being willing to let go so others might have their own chance to serve this county well.
He certainly has, and we thank him for it.