FRANKLIN, N.C. (WLOS) - The Franklin Town Council is working to appoint a council member after Billy Mashburn was re-elected six days following his death.
Council member Barbara McRae said Mashburn died Nov. 1 after a three-year battle with cancer.
"We had a meeting Monday night. That was very difficult to have that empty seat there," she said. "The staff had put a bow there. It was harder than I thought. We will always miss Billy. He was a special person and a friend to all of us. It will be a hard seat to fill."
McRae said she believes voters intentionally voted for Mashburn, despite knowing he had passed away the previous week. Board of Elections member Melanie Thibault agrees.
"This is a very small town. He was very well respected. I would say a lot of people came out of respect for Billy to vote for him," Thibault said.
She said the sixth council member would be appointed.
"In a municipal election, if a candidate dies, the seat is declared vacant, and the seat will be appointed by the town council," she said.
McRae said it is not a decision the council takes lightly.
"Of course, people are putting up names and making suggestions. And we have our own ideas. So, we’ll vet those and find our candidate who would be best for the town of Franklin," McRae explained.