M’boro Council rejects plan

Published 5:42 pm Saturday, October 17, 2009

MURFREESBORO – Apparently, members of the Murfreesboro Town Council are satisfied with the current structure of the town’s organizational chart.

On Tuesday, Murfreesboro’s elected five-member council nixed an idea to combine the current three charts into one document. On a motion from Councilman Billy Theodorakis and seconded by Lloyd Hill, the existing charts, as adopted by council in 2007, will remain in effect.

The item was placed on Tuesday’s meeting agenda per a request from Murfreesboro Mayor Lynn Johnson.

Murfreesboro Town Administrator Cathy Davison said the mayor wished to have her name added alongside (on the same level) the town council.

“I did as I was asked, but reminded the mayor that any changes would have to be approved by the council,” Davison said during a Thursday interview.

As far as the existing three charts were concerned (none of which include the mayor’s position), Davison said they were developed in the spring of 2007 by the MAPS Group of Raleigh. MAPS works as a management specialist with a number of government entities.

“The Murfreesboro Town Council at that time contracted with the MAPS Group to conduct a salary study of the town employees as well as studying the town’s personal policy and making recommendations on the same,” Davison said. “The current three organizational charts were also developed by MAPS and were adopted by our council in July of 2007.”

Apparently, the lack of the mayor’s position being listed on any of those charts proved as upsetting to Johnson. She actively debated her point at Tuesday’s meeting.

“I do not need to remind you that I am an elected official,” Johnson said. “I sign all the (town government) checks.”

Johnson then made reference to the Murfreesboro Town Charter, saying it called for the election of a mayor and council by the townspeople.

“How can it be then that I’m not on the (town’s) organizational chart,” she asked.

The council yielded the floor to local attorney Buddy Jones, who serves as legal counsel to the governing body.

“A mayor in the town of Murfreesboro, according to our town charter, presides over council meetings, are allowed to vote when there is a tie among council member and acts as an ambassador for the town,” Jones noted. “A mayor plays an important role, but they are not pro-equal to the council.”

“Then why would the Mid-East Commission recommend this change,” Johnson inquired, referencing the Washington, NC based organization that assists local government entities in five northeastern North Carolina counties, including Hertford County. “They (Mid-East) are the governing body over all the localities in the region.”

“I don’t know why,” Jones replied. “I would like to talk with the person recommending this change. I want to know the rationale behind making a mayor a pro-equal with the council.”

Mayor Johnson then advised Jones he could contact Eddy Davis, who serves as Principal Planner with the Mid-East Commission.

Theodorakis then asked if council had to accept the Mid-East recommendation.

“You can choose whatever you feel necessary to put in to the town’s organizational chart, as long as you do not take away from the town charter,” Jones responded.

Contacted on Thursday, Mid-East Commission Executive Director Tim Ware said Johnson’s statements on this issue, in regards to the Mid-East Commission, were not accurate.

“We did not recommend this change (in the Murfreesboro chart) and we are not the governing body (over local county or municipal government),” Ware stated.

Ware added that Jones did contact his office and was apprised of the same information.

“We checked with the (North Carolina) Institute of Government and the town of Murfreesboro is following their town charter,” Ware said.