12/01/13 — City Council to choose mayor pro tem

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City Council to choose mayor pro tem

By Matt Caulder
Published in News on December 1, 2013 1:50 AM

The Goldsboro City Council is expected to choose which councilman will serve as mayor pro tem for the coming year at its meeting Monday night.

The mayor pro tem leads Council meetings in the absence of the mayor and represents the Council at city functions the mayor cannot attend but he or she has no extra powers beyond those of a regular Council member.

The city's charter states that the position has no fixed term of office and that the mayor pro tem serves "at the pleasure of the remaining city council and mayor."

The current mayor pro tem, District 1 Councilman Michael Headen, assumed the position last December after a unanimous vote following Councilman Chuck Allen's 9-year stint in the position.

Councilman William Goodman made a motion to replace Allen as mayor pro tem in September 2012 following a failed motion to return to the system which rotated the position annually based on race.

The unofficial policy to rotate the position by race had been in place since former City Councilman J.B. Rhodes suggested the policy in 1987 and was in operation for 15 years until Goodman resigned in 2004 and the policy fell by the wayside.

Prior to 1987 the mayor pro tem served a four-year term and was chosen based on which candidate received the most votes.

Since a six-district election system was established in 1987 the method was deemed obsolete.

The motion to replace Allen was a topic of hot debate until last December when the board unanimously voted Headen in as mayor pro tem.

While the position has no set term, Goodman has insisted it be rotated annually, as it was before his resignation.

In other business, the Council will vote on whether to approve a zoning request for property on the corner of Berkeley Boulevard and Elm Street. The property is currently zoned as a General Business Conditional District for a used car lot but the rezoning would allow for the sale of licensed sports products as well. The city Planning Commission recommended approval of the project.

The Council also is expected to vote on a site plan recommendation for Gap Ministries on McLain Street.

The Planning Commission's recommendation is to waive the required paved parking for two years as well as a reduction in the required buffer along the north edge of the property. The property will be operated as a church, classroom and office space.

The Council is expected to set a public hearing for the proposed closing of Hogan's Alley in between Spruce and Chestnut streets. If closed, the land would be split in half and returned to the adjacent property owners but the city would retain sewer easement rights. At the last City Council meeting Nov. 18 Headen said he would not be opposed to the alley being closed if the city were to clean up the alley first.