Former Buncombe GOP Chairman Chad Nesbitt and former Asheville City Councilman Carl Mumpower are challenging a decision by the Mayor and City Council of Asheville. Yesterday, the elected body of 7 instructed the City Manager to install a large rainbow banner from City Hall. The Mayor noted their motivations, “The council decided we should fly the flag,” said Manheimer. “Some people call it the rainbow flag or the freedom flag, to show our support for this monumental moment in North Carolina history.” .”
According to Nesbitt and Mumpower, “This action was a violation of the City Charter separating the legislative (City Council) from operational (City Manager) bodies of local governance.” “In instructing the City Manager to act on a policy matter without hearing, they were essentially telling him how to do his job. Per our Charter, Mayors and City Council members, even a majority, are not allowed to arbitrarily or on an emotional whim instruct the City Manager to do anything. He’s the boss when it comes to operations – and that includes hanging banners from public building – unless the city has gone through an appropriate legislative process. A phone survey is not appropriate legislative process.”
(ARTICLE II – THE COUNCIL
Sec. 9. – Meetings to be open; opportunity of citizens to be heard.
All meetings of the council shall be open to the public and the council, by rules, must provide for giving citizens reasonable opportunity to be heard at its meetings in regard to matters thereunder consideration)
(ARTICLE III – ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES
Sec. 23. – Council to deal with administrative service through manager.
Except for the purpose of inquiry, the council and its members shall deal with that portion of the administrative service for which the manager is responsible through the manager and neither the council nor any member thereof shall give an order to any city employee in the administrative service of the city, other than the city manager, relating to any matter in the line of his employment. Any violation of the provisions of this section by a member of the council shall be a misdemeanor, conviction of which shall immediately forfeit the office of the member so convicted.)
(Sec. 24. – General duties of manager.
It shall be the duty of the city manager to act as chief conservator of the peace within the city; to supervise the administration of the affairs of the city; to see that the ordinances of the city and the laws of the state are enforced therein; to make such recommendations to the council concerning the affairs of the city as may seem to him desirable; to keep the council advised of the financial condition and future needs of the city; to prepare and submit to the council budget estimates; to prepare and submit to the council such reports as may be required by that body and to perform such other duties as may be prescribed by this Charter or required of him by ordinance or resolution of the council.)
Nesbitt and Mumpower further indicated that Asheville’s Council “aggravated their error” by violating state meeting laws. “There is a reason that the North Carolina instructs local elected bodies to handle their affairs in an open and deliberative way,” said Nesbitt and Mumpower. “Otherwise, they would be free, such as in this case, to indulge their personal feelings and conduct business behind closed doors and over private phone lines.”
Article 33C. Meetings of Public Bodies.§ 143-318.9. Public policy.
Whereas the public bodies that administer the legislative, policy-making, quasi-judicial, administrative, and advisory functions of North Carolina and its political subdivisions exist solely to conduct the people’s business, it is the public policy of North Carolina that the hearings, deliberations, and actions of these bodies be conducted openly.
(d) “Official meeting” means a meeting, assembly, or gathering together at any time or place or the simultaneous communication by conference telephone or other electronic means of a majority of the members of a public body for the purpose of conducting hearings, participating in deliberations, or voting upon or otherwise transacting the public business within the jurisdiction, real or apparent, of the public body. However, a social meeting or other informal assembly or gathering together of the members of a public body does not constitute an official meeting unless called or held to evade the spirit and purposes of this Article.
The various boards, commissions, committees, and other bodies that are part of North Carolina state and local government must hold their meetings in compliance with the N.C. Open Meetings Law, which is codified as Article 33C of General Statutes Chapter 143, beginning at G.S. 143-318.9. This webpage is intended to provide information on the North Carolina Open Meetings law and its interpretation to North Carolina’s public officials, public employees, and citizens. NC School of Government
“The short of it, said the pair, is we have an action coming out of a 7-0 liberal council that is typical to the eventual landing place of all elected bodies lacking balanced representation – fascism.” “That’s a form or government characterized by ‘oppressive, dictatorial control’ – as Christians, we feel that our values are being ignored and oppressed by a dictatorial minority.” “Amendment One was passed by a majority in NC. The left, as represented by this 7-0 council, has ignored that vote and successfully trumped the will of the people.” The gentleman who once ran Germany and much of the rest of the world into the ground and challenged our ‘Greatest Generation’ would recognize and applaud this model coming out of the ‘Me Generation’ – we shouldn’t. We welcome insights on how we might otherwise challenge this misdeed. We’re searching for a way to pin this banner where it belongs.”