Town attorney voted out
The new direction of the Angier Board of Commissioners began to take shape during Monday’sregularly scheduled meeting.
The two newest members — Ward 1 Commissioner Loru Boyer Hawley and Ward 3 Commissioner Mike Hill — combined with Mayor Lew Weatherspoon in a vote to deny town attorney Al Bain a new contract.
After relatively no discussion on the matter, the board voted 2-2 on renewal. Senior members Bob Smith and Craig Honeycutt voted to retain Mr. Bain while the two newest members voted against the renewal.
The deadlock left the decision up to Mayor Weatherspoon who sided with the denial of the new contract.
“It’s two for and two against,” the Mayor said. “I’m going to vote no. I believe the contract states 60-day notice. If that’s the case we’ll consider that the 60-day notice. Madam clerk will you advertise for a new attorney?”
Town Manager Coley Price asked Mayor Weatherspoon why he voted no.
Mayor Weatherspoon said he agreed with the two commissioners who voted no.
“There’s got to be a reason, because I don’t know of anything that he’s done enough for you to not allow him to be re-appointed,” Mr. Price responded.
“Because I felt like that’s the way I should vote,” the mayor said. “It’s plain and simple.”
When Mr. Price pressed the mayor to go into further detail, Mayor Weatherspoon ended the discussion by saying “the matter’s closed.”
Mr. Price’s Turn
Later the focus of the board turned toward Mr. Price himself.
Commissioner Hawley asked the clerk to read into the minutes a motion that outlined certain duties the town manager is expected to carry out, a motion that was later altered.
She described the list of duties as a way to “provide the citizens of Angier with a more efficient and transparent and accountable municipality and municipal government.”
The list included a variety of duties under both North Carolina General Statutes and the town charter.
- Town manager is not authorized to sign checks or authorize payments exceeding $2,500. All monthly payroll and town expense checks are to be signed by the interim finance director and the mayor.
- Before any discussions are held by any professional service providers the need for assistance must be presented to the town board and have the board approve the contract.
- All contracts for professional services such as attorneys, law firms, auditors, consultants, engineers, etc. shall be competitively bid by the town board prior to selection. Staff will recommend the provider to be hired and final decision will be made by the town board.
- The town manager will provide the mayor and the board updates on all projects on a monthly basis and more often as requested or deemed necessary by the board.
- Town manager will supply the mayor and commissioners via email a weekly itinerary to be submitted eachFridayfor the following week.
- People in town complain they’ve come to the town board with questions or concerns and they never get a response. The town manager will respond in writing to anyone asking questions or expressing a concern at a town board meetingwithin 30 daysor at the next town board meeting. The mayor and commissioners will be copied on all responses.
- The town manager will review proposed board agenda with the mayor for additions, deletions and finalize the agenda and distribute no later thannoonon the Thursday prior to a board meeting. If the meeting is on a Monday, the agenda must be distributed no later than noon on Wednesday prior to the meeting.
To-Do List With Little Time
The document then included a list of deadlines for project updates, most of them written, ahead of the board’s monthly meetings in the immediate future.
Among them were written updates on the status of work on the N.C. 55 expansion, discussions with NCDOT regarding traffic improvements in town, on Main Street, etc., listing of all consultants currently employed and what they are consultants for, all existing contracts with attorneys must be presented to the town board for determination of need or continuation of agreements, and a report on the need to maintain outside law firms.
The document also requires an update on the status and a timetable of getting natural gas to Angier, status of having broadband internet service in Angier and the status of any talks with possible providers, other proposals and the amount of funds spent on the projects and the status of hiring a town economic director.
It also called for the town manger to develop a rough draft in 60 days and a final action in 90 dayswithout a consultant for the following actions: a storm water policy and plan, to develop a plan along with cost estimates to replace aging water and sewer lines in those parts of town in Harnett County, develop a plan for a onetime cleaning of all the ditches in town and determine ways to reduce fees paid to The Daily Record.
The motion also calls for Mr. Price to provide the commissioners and mayor a copy of all town financial policies by Jan. 23, a procedure to streamline the permitting process at an additional fee by Feb. 27, develop a list of concessions that can be used as inducements for developers to do work in the Town of Angier by Feb. 6, develop plans to relocate the police department and redesign the interior of town hall to better utilize space with recommendations to relocate the police department to the town board in 60 days or when scheduled to complete the move, recommend to the town board an architect to redesign the town hall interior in 30 days, preliminary plan in 90 days with a recommendation of a contractor duein 120 days, with construction to begin after the contractor is selected.
Under the document he was also tasked with designing banners proclaiming Campbell University students, faculty and staff are welcome in Angier by Feb. 27. Once approved the banners are to be installed within two weeks of receiving them.
He is also to provide the mayor and each commissioner with an evaluation of members of the Angier Police Department and recommendation on how the police department performed by Jan. 23. He was also charged with working with commissioners to establish a schedule of town hall board meetings, with each board meeting a minimum once a year. The meetings are to begin in the first quarter of 2018.
The document read into the minutes also included a directive that all town employees sign a statement saying they have been given a copy of the town personnel policy, understand it and abide by it.
It also states Mr. Price will develop a plan to implement use and discussion of tablets, laptops and software packages for the commissioners, town manager and town clerk with the proposal due by March 6.
In the ensuing discussion, Mrs. Hawley stood by her motion and reemphasized the need for the plan.
“It’s just a good tool to be more transparent to the citizens of Angier, they deserve that,” she said. “We need to make sure all the I’s are dotted and all the T’s are crossed. And I think the only way we’re going to get there is if we are transparent, to let everybody be more informed about the Town of Angier.”
Commissioner Hill, who seconded the original motion, offered what he called “a little leniency” by suggesting the town manager be given a longer time to fulfill the motion’s details.
Mr. Price also told the board gathering all of the information is not feasible due to the limited amount of time and the upcoming budget process which could take up to four months to complete.
Mrs. Hawley agreed, perhaps some flexibility needed to be included due to the large number of issues involved and agreed to alter the motion and adjust the dates involved at the Jan. 23 commissioners workshop meeting.