Forsyth County District 2 Commissioner Rick Swope has stepped down from his seat due to new professional position.
Swope, who took office in January, told the Forsyth County News on Tuesday he has accepted an executive position with financial services company E-Trade that denotes he cannot hold public office.
“At the end of June, I accepted vice president of investor education for all of E-Trade’s retail education program,” Swope said. “The downside is as a registered securities principal in a highly regulated industry, I am precluded from maintaining outside business activities, including elected service.”
Swope was a co-founder of Pro Market Advisors, where he worked as a third-party support for E-Trade.
“About three months ago, they decided to bring what we do in-house and no longer do third-party services,” he said. “So, I had a choice: I could reject their offer to bring us in-house – and if I’d done that I’d have had all the free time in the world and no income – or I could accept the offer, which includes an executive position with E-Trade.”
Swope said the decision was one he “absolutely hated” to make and had “explored every possibility of maintaining both.” He said he was humbled to serve as commissioner and felt the county was going in a positive direction.
“Forsyth County has a depth and breadth of education, experience, expertise, talent that is the envy of the nation,” Swope said. “With our new county manager coming on board, I’m wildly optimistic about our future, and the thing I want to continue with is how we get more people involved in the process.”
Swope ran unopposed as a first-time politician for the office after former District 2 Commissioner Brian Tam decided not to run for re-election of the seat he had held since 2005.
Commissioners in Forsyth are elected by district-only voting. District 2 covers much of south Forsyth.
The timeline for an election to choose Swope’s replacement is not immediately clear. Until then, all votes by the Board of Commissioners will be decided by the four sitting officials. A tie vote effectively postpones a decision to the next meeting.
This story will be updated.