HUNTERSVILLE – Since the earliest days of Lake Norman – when Marshall Steam Station was under construction, Interstate 77 was just a dotted line on a visionary map and Davidson was the largest town in north Mecklenburg – there has been one constant in Huntersville municipal proceedings. Bob Blythe began providing legal insight and advice to town officials in 1963, initially receiving $10 for every town session he attended.
Blythe continued as the town's outside counsel until 2010, when he transitioned into a town staff member. And next month, in his early 80s and after 55 years of service, he will step down as Angela Beeker comes on board as Huntersville's new full-time town attorney.
Beeker, a veteran attorney currently working in private practice in Hendersonville, will begin her local service June 18. Her appointment and annual salary of $100,000 were made official with unanimous support during the town board's May 7 meeting, ending an eighth-month process than began last August when Blythe announced intentions to retire at the end of 2017.
After Blythe made his plans public, commissioners were undecided about how to fill the position. At the board's request, Human Resources Director Vickie Brock conducted simultaneous searches for individuals interested in serving as the town's attorney and firms interested in being the town's outside counsel. After the initial search time frame, only a few applicants in each category contacted the town – a limited response Brock and other town officials attributed, at least in part, to the uncertainty of the town's intentions.
Commissioners, after receiving a commitment from Blythe to delay his retirement until a replacement was found, then agreed to conduct the search for a full-time town attorney. That process led to the selection of Beeker as the second attorney to conduct Huntersville's day-to-day legal duties.
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Beeker said she has “big shoes to fill” in replacing Blythe but looks forward to the assignment.
“I have always liked Huntersville,” she said during a phone conversation, adding her sister lived in Huntersville for several years, and she became familiar with the town and surrounding area during family visits. “When I saw the job posting, it was something I wanted to pursue, and I'm excited to begin working there.”
Beeker is currently affiliated with the F.B. Jackson Law Firm in Hendersonville. She has been in private practice since 2005, after spending the early part of her career in local-level government service. Beeker, who earned a degree in biomedical engineering at Duke University, attended the Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law at Campbell University, graduating and passing the North Carolina State Bar in 1991.
She began work as the first in-house staff attorney for Henderson County in 1992 and later served as that county's assistant manager and county attorney. She remained with Henderson County until 2005, when she joined two partners in opening a private firm specializing in real estate proceedings. During the recession in 2008, partners agreed to close that practice, and Beeker joined the Jackson firm, where she specializes in litigation. Her experience includes practice in the North Carolina Business Court and the presentation of arguments at the North Carolina Court of Appeals.
In explaining her decision to seek the Huntersville job, Beeker said she was ready to put her previous public and private sector experience to work in a new setting.
“I was looking to get back into government law,” she said, “and felt the years of private practice, on top of the years I spent with Henderson County, would give me an even better foundation to do the job.
“I know I need to hit the ground running because Huntersville is a growing and vibrant community,” she added, “but I will also need just a little bit of a learning curve. Mr. Blythe represents a tremendous amount of institutional knowledge that will be impossible to replace, but I am eager to get started.”
Beeker and her husband, Thomas, have two children. The family is planning to relocate to Huntersville.