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Search begins for M’boro Mayor

MURFREESBORO — Town officials here are reviewing how to go about filling the role of mayor after the resignation of Lynn Johnson.

On Wednesday, the day after she was elected into what would have been her third term, Johnson turned in a letter of resignation to Mayor Pro-Tem Molly Eubank.

The brief letter signed by Johnson said: “It is very apparent that the environment within which I have to work is that of turmoil and strong disrespect that leads me to no other alternative but to tender my resignation as that of Mayor of Murfreesboro effective November 4, 2009 at 12:00 noon.”

Unofficial results of Tuesday’s municipal election showed Johnson had won her bid for re-election with 218 votes. The results also showed 135 write-ins for mayor. Of that amount, 111 votes were captured by former Murfreesboro Town Councilman Wayne Brown.

In the meantime, town officials are researching how to fill the vacant mayoral seat.

In a press release sent to the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald from town officials stated, “The procedure for replacing the mayor is under review.”

The press release concludes, “The Murfreesboro Town Council wishes Mrs. Johnson the very best in all her future endeavors.”

Town Administrator Cathy Davison said Town Attorney Buddy Jones is reviewing the process of replacing the mayor.

Davison said the town would have to follow North Carolina General Statute 160A-63 in order to fill the vacancy.

The law states: “A vacancy that occurs in an elective office of a city shall be filled by appointment of the city council. If the term of the office expires immediately following the next regular city election, or if the next regular city election will be held within 90 days after the vacancy occurs, the person appointed to fill the vacancy shall serve the remainder of the unexpired term. Otherwise, a successor shall be elected at the next regularly scheduled city election that is held more than 90 days after the vacancy occurs, and the person appointed to fill the vacancy shall serve only until the elected successor takes office. The elected successor shall then serve the remainder of the unexpired term. If the number of vacancies on the council is such that a quorum of the council cannot be obtained, the mayor shall appoint enough members to make up a quorum, and the council shall then proceed to fill the remaining vacancies. If the number of vacancies on the council is such that a quorum of the council cannot be obtained and the office of mayor is vacant, the Governor may fill the vacancies upon the request of any remaining member of the council, or upon the petition of any five registered voters of the city. Vacancies in appointive offices shall be filled by the same authority that makes the initial appointment. This section shall not apply to vacancies in cities that have not held a city election, levied any taxes, or engaged in any municipal functions for a period of five years or more.”

A closed session for attorney-client privilege is listed on the council’s agenda for Tuesday’s regular meeting, scheduled for 1 p.m.