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Rex Stainback, a school resource officer at Roanoke Rapids High School, was the city council’s unanimous choice Tuesday to fill the unexpired term of District 1 Councilman Ernest Bobbitt.

“I am very humbled to have been appointed by the city council to fill the unexpired term of Councilman E.C. Bobbitt,” Stainback, who has served as a law enforcement officer for the past 42 years, said this morning. “He served our city well as a police officer rising to the rank of chief and after retiring he served, finishing as a city councilman.”

Of Bobbitt, Stainback said, “His knowledge and service to the city will be missed and I’m excited to begin working with the city council and mayor to move our city forward.”

“I look forward to the things he can bring to our community,” Mayor Emery Doughtie said.

Councilman Carl Ferebee said, “I appreciate the interest of all the candidates and I guess we feel Rex can bring something to the table. I’d like to thank all of those who were interested. We’d like to see more interest.”

Ferebee said interest in public office has waned. “We need to get back on track with those that are interested. I’d like to see more folks coming back to our meetings. I’d like to see more interest in government and not at certain points of time other than when there’s an opening. There’s a lot of things that can be done with the city and it takes all of us to do that.”

Councilman Wayne Smith made the motion to appoint Stainback and Suetta Scarbrough cast the second.

The decision to appoint Stainback was unanimous.

“Rex has been around this community a long time,” Smith said. “He knows the community and he’s been active in the community as far as when he was employed with the city and also at the school system. I think he will be a benefit to the citizens.”

Smith said Stainback expressed an interest to him as well as other council members. “I think he’ll do an excellent job. I think he’ll be good for District 1. I think he’ll get out and talk to the people and I think he’ll be a good council member.”

Smith said the city gets many calls from constituents in that district. “I’m very satisfied. I know Rex will do a great job. He’ll get out in the community and make sure things get done. He’ll be good for the council and he won’t be a yes man either.”

Bobbitt tendered his resignation earlier this month to spend time with his family.

The city described him as a valuable and dedicated public servant for over 50 years. 

Prior to elected office, Bobbitt served in the United States Marine Corps followed by a 31-year career with the Roanoke Rapids Police Department before retiring as chief in 2002. 

In 2003, he was first elected to city council to represent District 1 and was currently serving his fifth consecutive term in elected office before deciding to step down.