Mount Gilead’s elected officials and administrative staff met last night with a representative from the North Carolina League of Municipalities. Rob Shepherd, the League’s Member Services Manager, presented a session called “Good Government Equals Great Hometowns”. In the presentation, he explained the roles, responsibilities and authorities of the mayor, commissioners, town manager and town clerk in towns like Mount Gilead, with a council-manager form of government. Shepherd said the mayor’s role in this state is different than in some other places.
“The mayor in North Carolina is a little bit different than, perhaps, mayors that you see played in the movies or played on TV or you see in the news with the large cities,” said Shepherd. “In North Carolina, we have more of a ceremonial role for the mayor.”
Shepherd said the mayor should preside and maintain order at meetings, act as a ceremonial head of local government and serve as a facilitative leader, but the mayor has no veto power over decisions made by the board of commissioners. He also said the mayor often is a point of primary contact for citizens, civic groups and others and can bring that communication to the table for the common good.
“You’re in a wonderful position for all this information to come in,” Shepherd said. “Then, what are you going to do with it? Hopefully, you’re going to share it with the other council members and the manager to enhance the quality of life here in Mount Gilead.”
Rob Shepherd also talked a bit about the town charter, which has been the source of some confusion in recent months. The original charter was adopted in 1899, and some revisions have been made over the years. Research done by the League of Municipalities and the North Carolina School of Government indicates that the latest draft of the town charter, done a little less than 10 years ago, was not formally adopted by the North Carolina General Assembly. Shepherd recommended that the town take action to rectify the situation, and Town Manager Katrina Tatum said she is in touch with a consulting firm regarding the matter. Meanwhile, Shepherd says the town’s adoption of a council-manager form of government is valid, since it did not require action by the General Assembly.
Last night’s session offered much more information, and we will rebroadcast the presentation in its entirety. It can be heard tonight at 9:00 p.m. and again Sunday at 9:00 p.m., here on WMTG.