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Commissioner Contacts & Bios

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Current County Commissioners

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


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. 

Commissioner Howard is currently the liaison to the following boards and committees: 

  • Board of Education
  • Chatham Partnership for Children
  • Community Child Protection Team
  • Child Fatality Team
  • Economic Development Corporation
  • Joint Orange-Chatham Community Action (voting member)
  • Juvenile Crime Prevention Council (voting member)
  • Library Advisory Committee
  • Local OPC Mental Health Advisory Committee (voting member)
  • Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization (voting member) 


Commissioner Mike DasherVIce Chair: Mike Dasher (District 2

Mailing Address: PO Box 1809, Pittsboro, NC 27312
Phone:  919-530-9511

Sworn in on Dec. 5, 2016. Originally from Ohio, Mike moved to North Carolina at the age of 12. After college, he served in the AmeriCorps program with Habitat for Humanity, and went on to work with several nonprofit affordable housing providers in the Triangle area.

A 12-year resident of Chatham County, Mike was elected to the Board of Commissioners in 2016.

Mike is a graduate of Barton College, where he earned degrees in Political Science and Finance. He owns and operates a small business developing and building residential properties. He lives in Moncure with his wife, Selbe Bartlett, and their two children, Abilene and Jude. 

Commissioner Dasher currently serves as the liaison to the following boards and committees:

  • Alcohol Beverage Control Board
  • Appearance Commission
  • Transportation Advisory Committee
  • Triangle Area Rural Planning Organization (voting member)
  • Board of Social Services
  • Triangle J Council of Governments Smart Growth Committee
  • Board of Elections
  • Orange-Chatham Task Force


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.

Commissioner Hales serves as a liaison to the following boards or committees:  

  • Climate Change Advisory Committee
  • Environmental Review Advisory Committee
  • NC Association of County Commissioners Environment Committee (voting member)
  • Pittsboro-Siler City Convention & Visitors Bureau Advisory Committee
  • Planning Board
  • Triangle J Council of Governments Alternate Delegate (voting member)
  • NC Association of County Commissioners Voting Delegate (voting position)


Commissioner Jim Crawford

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 Rental Housing Task Force 
  • 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: alternate voting delegate
  • Triangle J Council of Governments Board of Delegates (voting member)
  • Home & Community Care Block Grant Committee (voting member)
  • Orange-Chatham Task Force


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.

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

  • Adult Care & Nursing Home Committee
  • Agriculture Advisory Committee
  • Chatham Trades
  • Economic Development Corporation
  • Enhanced 911 Committee (voting member)
  • Local Emergency Planning
  • Recreation Advisory Committee
  • Research Triangle Regional Partnership (voting member)