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My Interview With Commissioner Caroline Sullivan

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Sophie Eisenhardt

on 14 August 2014

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Transcript of My Interview With Commissioner Caroline Sullivan

Details of Position
Observing the Board
Current Issues
I was able to attend a board of commissioners meeting in early August and and on certain matters, there were differences of opinion between board members. When asked how Mrs. Sullivan doesn't take it personally, she told me it depends upon what is being discussed. For example, when the discussion involves an individual, she told me that that's when it's hard to not take it personally. "Sometimes you just have to not let it get to you and remind yourself that it's nothing personal".
When the subject that's being disagreed on is about a policy, it's easier to not take it personally. "Anyways," said Commissioner Sullivan, "I have experience not winning arguments because I have two teenagers."
During the interview, I found out some big issues that Mrs. Sullivan is facing as commissioner. The first and most well known issue is the funding for schools and teacher payment. The main reason for the issues with school funding is the growth. There are more and more kids and so there's a need to build more schools when the budget is already tight. The other big issue is with transit. Transit is an issue because we're the largest municipality without a transit system.
$1.25
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Vol XCIII, No. 311
Commissioner Sullivan
Biography
Special Talents
I had the honor of interviewing Commissioner Caroline Sullivan. When asked about her past and if she's always wanted to be commissioner, she admitted that she didn't always want to be a county commissioner.
Mrs. Sullivan stated that the position for commissioner became available and she just thought about all of the things she participated in and thought that becoming commissioner would help her be able to help even more. To say that she was active in her community is an understatement. She's a PTA leader, a Sunday school teacher for children and adults with disabilities, an elementary school tutor, and a former chairman of the North Carolina Interagency Coordinating Council for Children with Disabilities.
When asked what kind of talents helped Mrs. Sullivan in her position as commissioner, it's obvious to me that she truly cares about other people. She told me that being an extrovert helped. I also learned that she's very interested in people's stories and public policy, intellectually curious, she likes to do research, and that she handles disagreements well thanks to her teenagers. Mrs. Sullivan also mentioned that she did have to develop some traits as well. One of the traits she had to learn was patience. Another thing she learned is to not take things personally.
Commissioner's Corner
Campaigning for the Job
I asked Commissioner Sullivan how hard the process of becoming a commissioner was and she told me that she actually thought it was fun. She enjoyed getting to meet and connect with the people in her county. The only things that made the process hard was that she had a large district and she had to get over the psychological barrier that since she is a woman, it was going to be harder for people to take her seriously.
" What do you do on a normal day?"
"There really is no 'normal' day being a commissioner" says Commissioner Sullivan. "The only thing that is 'normal' is that formal meetings are on Monday. You always have more than you can do. You basically do the things you choose. There are always breakfasts, dinners, meetings, and tours to do."
When elected as a district Commissioner, you serve a four-year term. Elected in December of 2012, Caroline Sullivan started her first term, which ends in December of 2016. "I think I would run to be re-elected. There's so much to learn. It's been an honor and a privilege to serve," stated Mrs. Sullivan.
Full transcript