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North Topsail Mayor Drops Appeal, Resigns

NORTH TOPSAIL BEACH – Dan Tuman has ended his legal fight to remain mayor of North Topsail Beach.

Tuman, who served four terms as the town’s mayor, resigned Thursday after voluntarily dismissing his appeal against the N.C. State Board of Elections.

“I’ve decided to discontinue any further action on my election protest concerning last November’s (North Topsail Beach) mayor contest,” Tuman said in an email. “Instead, I’ve decided to retire from public life and am resigning from my position as mayor effective immediately.”

Dan Tuman

His announcement comes months after contesting the Nov. 5, 2019, municipal election where Alderman and Mayor Pro Tem Joann McDermon, who ran again for alderman on the ballot, won the mayor race as a write-in, beating Tuman by 46 votes.

Tuman argued McDermon, who launched a mayoral write-in campaign, violated state law by running for two positions.

The town’s election results are expected to be certified March 24 in a meeting of the Onslow County Board of Elections, with McDermon officially named the winner, according to a report in the Jacksonville Daily News. After those results are released, McDermon will be sworn in as mayor.

Tuman served the town for more than a decade, beginning with the town’s board of adjustment before serving one term as alderman.

During an emergency-called meeting of the North Topsail Beach Board of Aldermen Friday morning, the board voted unanimously to formally accept Tuman’s retirement and confer mayoral powers to McDermon.

Alderman Tom Leonard read a statement praising Tuman’s service to the town.

“Throughout the years Dan has worked tirelessly on behalf of our town,” Leonard said. “Whether it was in Washington building relationships with members of Congress to secure federal funding for shoreline protection and testifying in front of a subcommittee on Capitol Hill advocating the removal of the town’s CBRA (Coastal Barrier Resource Act) designation, or in Raleigh working with state officials to gain support for beach initiatives and funding, or back here at home where he led the town through two recent hurricanes and our subsequent recovery, Dan Tuman has always put the town of North Topsail Beach and her citizens first. Dan’s keen political insight, business expertise and understanding of beach-related issues has achieved positive results for our town.”

During Tuman’s tenure as mayor, the town completed two major beach restoration projects, a sales tax distribution agreement with Onslow County, repavement of the town’s two major roadways and, most recently, the redirection of nearly $2 million in hurricane recovery funds directed to the town’s treasury, Leonard said.

“Over the years Dan has given much of himself to North Topsail Beach. Our town is a better place to live, work and play because of Dan Tuman’s unwavering dedication and service. For that, as citizens we should be grateful,” he said.

Tuman was not at the meeting, which was held in the town’s North End Fire Station, where no more than 10 chairs were made available to members of the public in accordance with current social distancing precautions over COVID-19. Chairs, including those at the table where alderman sat, were spaced 6 feet apart.

Town officials encouraged remote participation of meetings “until further notice.”

Aldermen also approved the formal appointment of David Gilbride as the town’s interim manager.

He starts the job Monday. His annual salary has been set at $100,000, but he will be paid on an hourly basis since it is unlikely he will work as interim manager a full year, a town official said.

The town’s former manager, Bryan Chadwick, accepted a job earlier this year as town manager of Newport. He started that job March 6.

Chadwick had been North Topsail Beach’s manager since July 2018.

About the Author

Trista Talton

Trista Talton is a native North Carolinian who, shortly after graduating from Appalachian State University in 1996, took her first newspaper job as a reporter for the Hickory Daily Record. She has since migrated to the coast, covering everything from education and local governments to law enforcement, the environment and the military, including an embed with Marines in Kuwait for the start of the Iraq war in 2003. She has been a Coastal Review Online contributing writer since 2011 focusing on coastal-related issues from Onslow to Brunswick counties. She lives with her husband and two sons in Jacksonville.