Current County Commissioners

Click on the commissioners listed below for contact and biographical information.

  • CHAIRMAN:  Jim Crawford (District 4)
  • VICE CHAIR: Diana Hales (District 3) 
  • Allen Michael "Mike" Cross (District 2)
  • Karen Howard (District 1)
  • Walter Petty (District 5)    


      Karen Howard (District 1)photo of commissioner karen howard

      Mailing Address: P. O. Box 1809, Pittsboro, NC 27312
      Phone: 919-636-5799

      Elected as county commissioner in 2014, Karen Howard is a former attorney who lives in Northeast Chatham with her husband Ralph, and their four sons. They also have two adult children. Commissioner Howard served as a member of the Chatham County Board of Education from 2012-2014 and as Chair of the Board from 2013-2014.

      Howard has served on the Chatham County Schools AIG [Academically and Intellectually Gifted] Advisory Committee and the Chatham County Schools district accreditation committee. She is currently a Literacy Mentor at Virginia Cross Elementary in Siler City, a volunteer with Cinderella’s Closet of Chatham County and a member of the Chatham County African American Caucus and the Chatham Arts Council.

      Commissioner Howard has also served on the Admissions Committee for UNC Kenan-Flagler’s MBA@UNC program, the Legislative Committee of the North Carolina Schools Boards Association and the Parent Advisory Council of the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics.

      Born in New York, Commissioner Howard spent much of her childhood in the Bahamas. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts in English from Georgetown University and a LLB in Law from the University of Buckingham in England. She was called to the Bar of England & Wales and The Bahamas Bar in 1992.  

      Mike Cross

      Allen Michael "Mike" Cross (District 2)

      Mailing Address: 388 Cross Point Road, New Hill, NC 27562
      Phone:  (919) 774-3309

      A sixth-generation resident of Chatham County, Cross is a retired U.S. Navy Commander and a veteran of the Vietnam War. He is married to Nancy Faber Cross and has four children and five grandchildren. In 1988, he retired from the U.S. Navy and returned to his family farm in the Corinth community of Chatham County.   

      Commissioner Cross co-founded the Southeast Chatham Citizens Advisory Council and has served that organization in a number of capacities, including President, Treasurer, Environmental Representative, and member of the Board of Directors. He established the Moncure Schools Committee, the Moncure Water District Committee and the Air-Water Quality Summit for the Moncure Industrial Area. In 2004, he was named the Southeast Chatham Citizens Advisory Council Citizen of the Year.

      Commissioner Cross earned a from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. His professional work includes:

      • Commanding Officer, Navy Internal Relations Activity, Roselyn, VA
      • Executive Officer, Navy Internal Relations Activity, Roselyn, VA
      • Director, Navy Family Services, Naval District Headquarters, Washington, DC
      • Head, Helicopter Aircraft Accident Analyst Section, Naval Safety Center, Norfolk, VA
      • Administrative Officer, Helicopter Combat Support Squadron Six, Norfolk, VA
      • Assistant Public Relations Officer, Headquarters Staff, Naval Base, Norfolk, VA
      • Public Relations Officer, Naval Air Station, Norfolk, VA
      • Public Relations Officer, Helicopter Combat Squadron Six, Norfolk, VA
      • Commander, Attack Helicopter Aircraft, Republic of Vietnam
      • Aircraft Commander, Search & Rescue, Key West, FL

      Commissioner Cross is currently affiliated with the following organizations: 

      • Co-General Partner, Cross Pointe Apartments Limited Partnership
      • Carolinas Council for Affordable Housing
      • Military Officers of America, Life Member
      • Disabled American Veterans, Life Member
      • Woodmen of the World, Life Member

      Commissioner Service: Commissioner Cross was sworn in as a county commissioner on Dec. 4, 2004 and was sworn in for his third term on Dec. 3, 2012.

      State, Regional & County Boards and Committees: Commissioner Cross has served or continues to serve on the following:

      • National Association of Counties (NACo): Voting delegate (2005-current)
        Headquartered on Capitol Hill, NACo is the only national organization representing counties in the United States
      • North Carolina Joint Legislative Commission on Municipal Incorporations
      • Appointed by House Speaker Joe Hackney. Served three 2-year terms (’07 - '12). Reviews applications for incorporation, holds public hearings and makes positive or negative recommendations to the NC
        General Assembly.
      • North Carolina Association of County Commissioners--Includes all 100 counties.
           -Board of Directors (’05 - '12)
           -Co-Chair Legislative Goals Committee (’08 - '12)
           -Tax and Finance Steering Committee (’09 - current)
           -Board of Delegates (’05 - current)
           -Chatham Legislative Liaison (’05 - current)
           -Speakers Bureau (’06 - current)
           -District 9 Director (Chatham, Orange, Durham,Wake, Lee, Johnston,
                Moore, ’06 - ’07)
           -Award:  Received NCACC Premier Honorary Legislative Advocacy Award
      • North Carolina Joint Regional Forum
        TJCOG Delegate ( '12 – '14). Advises and advocates for creative regional solutions to statewide issues. Each of 16 NC Councils of Governments recommend a delegate and the delegate is approved by the NC League of Municipalities and the NC Association of County Commissioners.
      • Research Triangle Regional Partnership – RTRP: (Chatham, Durham, Franklin, Granville, Harnett, Johnston, Lee, Moore, Orange, Person, Vance, Wake, Warren, Edgecombe, Nash and Wilson). A business-driven organization dedicated to keeping the Research Triangle Region economically competitive through business, government and educational collaboration.
        Board of Directors (’11- current).
      • Triangle J Council of Governments (Chatham, Orange, Durham, Wake, Lee, Moore and Johnston counties)
            -Executive Committee (’05 - '14)
            -Immediate Past Chair (’11 – ‘12)
            -Chairman (’10 -’11)
            -Legislative Agenda Committee (’08 - '12)
            -Vice Chair (’09 - ’10), 
            -Second Vice Chair (’07 - ‘09)
            -Secretary/Treasurer (’06 - ’07)
      • Cape Fear River Assembly – Board of Directors ('12 – '14)
        Provides for the highest quality of life possible for the residents of the Cape Fear River Basin through the proper management of the Cape Fear River, it’s tributaries and adjacent land uses. The BOD is made up of 39 representatives, including environmental organizations, academia, small business and industry, government (local, state and federal) and the general public.
      • Sprott Youth Center, Moncure: Board of Directors (’11- current)
      • Metropolitan Planning Organization – MPO: (Chatham, Orange, Durham, Carrboro, Chapel Hill, Hillsborough and NC Department of Transportation)    
        Executive Committee (’05 - ’06)
      • Regional Planning Organization – RPO: (Chatham, Orange, Lee and Moore counties)
            -Chairman (’06 - ’07)
            -Executive Committee (’05 - ’07)
            -Alternate Voter (’07 - '12)
      • Orange, Person, Chatham Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Authority -OPC:
            -Executive Committee (’05 - ’06)
            -Vice-Chairman (’05 - ’06).
      • Local Management Entity – LME: Regional Mental Health
        Vice-Chairman (’06)
            -Executive Committee (’05 – ’06)
      • Orange-Chatham Justice Partnership:
            -Executive Committee (’05 - ’06)
            -Co-Chairman (’05 - ’06)
      • Chatham County Affordable Housing Task Force:
        Co-founder and BOC Representative (’05 – ’06)
        -Award: Received Habitat for Humanity Affordable Housing Advocacy Award
      • Home and Community Block Grant Committee: Executive Committee (’05 - ’06, ’11 - current)
      • Affordable Housing Committee: BOC Liaison (’11 -'13)
      • Solid Waste Advisory Committee: BOC Liaison (’11 - current)
      • Chatham Alcohol and Beverage Control Board: BOC Liaison (’06 –'10, '14-current)
      • Chatham Board of Elections: BOC Liaison (’06 - ’10)
      • Courts Operation/Security – Judicial District 15B: BOC Liaison (’06 - current)
      • Enhanced 911 Committee: BOC Liaison (’06 - ’10)
      • Local Emergency Planning Committee: BOC Liaison (’06 - ’10).   


      Vice Chair: Diana Hales (District 3)image of commissioner diana hales

      Mailing Address: P. O. Box 1809, Pittsboro, NC 27312
      Phone: 919-663-2372

      Diana Hales has lived in rural Chatham for almost 30 years and is married to Cheyney M. Hales. They own a farm on the Rocky River.

      Elected county commissioner in 2014, she is a retired North Carolina government employee. Formerly with the Center for Geographic Information and Analysis, Ms. Hales worked on technology issues with local governments, state and federal agencies, and international organizations to reach policy objectives. Her career in North Carolina public service also included positions at UNC-Chapel Hill Graduate School of Business and as Director of Promotions at UNC-TV.

      She has extensive private sector experience in marketing, publishing, broadcasting, media production and sales force management. She is a strong advocate for women and served as an officer and spokeswoman for the National Organization for Women in San Diego.

      Most recently she was an active participant in Siler City’s NC STEP program through an NC Rural Center grant. Ms. Hales is a founding member of the Siler City Development Organization! She is a member of several local non-profits dedicated to conserving and protecting our rivers and environment.

      LIAISON ROLE:  Commissioner Hales serves as a liaison to the following local or regional volunteer boards or committees:

      • Appearance Commission
      • Environmental Review Advisory Committee
      • Pittsboro-Siler City Convention & Visitors Bureau Advisory Committee
      • Planning Board
      • Transportation Advisory Committee
      • Triangle Area Rural Planning Organization (voting member) 
      • Work First Planning Committee


      Commissioner Jim CrawfordChairman:
      James G. "Jim" Crawford (District 4)

      Mailing Address: P. O. Box 1809, Pittsboro, NC 27312
      Phone: 919-933-9858

      Jim Crawford first worked on his family's farm in Pennsylvania and was the first in his family to earn a college degree. He received his degree from Penn State University.

      He worked in Chatham County as carpenter to pay for graduate school, earning a PhD in U.S. History from UNC-Chapel Hill.

      Commissioner Crawford taught at UNC-Greensboro and NC A&T from 2003-2014. He has been a volunteer carpenter for the Chatham Council on Aging, 2012-2014. Before being elected in November 2014, he served on the Chatham County Recreation Advisory Committee and the Chatham County Planning Board.

      LIAISON ROLE: Commissioner Crawford currently serves as a liaison to the following local or regional volunteer boards or committees: 

      • Affordable Housing Advisory Committee
      • Board of Elections
      • Board of Equalization & Review
      • Board of Health (voting member)
      • Chatham Transit Network Board
      • Chatham County Council on Aging and Regional Aging Council
      • Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization
      • Triangle J Council of Governments Board of Delegates (voting member)


      Walter Petty (District 5) Photo of Commissioner Walter Petty

      Mailing Address: P. O. Box 167, Bonlee, NC 27213
      Phone: 919-200-1940

      Walter Petty is a native of Chatham County and is married to Abby. They have three sons, Adam, Jacob, and Jonathan. They currently live on the farm where he was born and raised. He grew up raising poultry, cattle, and hay crops, along with tobacco and other row crops.

      He graduated from North Carolina State in 1978 with a degree in agriculture. After school, Walter worked for Bradshaw Supply Co. a family business located in Siler City, serving the agriculture industry. After 15 years in equipment service, sales and management, Bradshaw Supply was sold to a manufacturer in Illinois.

      In 1995 Walter started an equipment sales representative business. This agency was responsible for establishing a dealer network in the southeastern portion of the United States. In 2001, he incorporated Atlantic Power Solutions Inc., a generator company providing sales and service to the dealer network he developed.

      LIAISON ROLE: Commissioner Petty serves as a liaison to the following local or regional volunteer boards or committees:  

      • Adult Care & Nursing Home Committee
      • Agriculture Advisory Committee
      • Board of Social Services
      • Chatham Trades
      • Economic Development Corporation
      • Enhanced 911 Committee (voting member)
      • Local Emergency Planning
      • Recreation Advisory Committee





    Last updated: 3/15/2016 11:58:17 AM