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Howell hailed for leadership
Board WEB
Avery Howell accepts an award of appreciation from Terry Smith Thursday for his service on the civil service board. - photo by Autumn Vetter

For the first time since 1995, Avery Howell played second fiddle at a Forsyth County Civil Service Board meeting.

The long-time chairman stepped down from his role at the board’s July meeting and swapped positions with former vice chairman Terry Smith.

“This is the first meeting since I’ve been on the board that we’ve had a chairman other than Dr. Howell,” Smith said.

During Thursday’s meeting, the new chairman presented Howell, a retired dentist, with a resolution for his service, which began on the board in October 1988.

Smith thanked the longtime member for serving with “honor and distinction” and reviewing employee appeals while remaining impartial.

“Howell has graciously decided to turn over the reins of his chairmanship to his successor while remaining on the board to provide continued guidance and wise counsel,” Smith said.

Howell said he was honored to have served for nearly a quarter century during his retirement.

“At the time, I didn’t know what I was getting into, but it’s been a pleasure,” he said. “We have tried as a board to always be fair to both sides and also the county.”

He also applauded fellow board member John Blanchard’s eight years on the panel.

Blanchard, the employee representative, announced his resignation effective Aug. 31 since he will be moving out of state.

Smith said he and Howell worked alongside Blanchard for his entire tenure on the board.

“He will sorely be missed,” Smith said. “He’s a bright man, but he has common sense. That’s not very common anymore.”

Blanchard’s departure triggers an election for county employees to select a representative to fill the remainder of his term, which is four years and started in September 2011.

In the meantime, the board nominated Tim Perry, who recently resigned from the ethics board, to serve as an alternate member.