02/16/14 — Mayor takes on role of president of NCLM

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Mayor takes on role of president of NCLM

By Matt Caulder
Published in News on February 16, 2014 1:50 AM

Mayor Al King

A new year means a new initiative for the North Carolina League of Municipalities under the banner of the 2013-14 league president, Mayor Al King.

Since taking over in October, King has made it his goal to expand involvement with the league through increasing membership and growth of the School of Government program meant to inform public officials on the workings of government.

King said he would like to make it a requirement of elected officials to attend School of Government courses before taking office.

"You know people could avoid the majority of the stupid things they get into with this stuff if they would just attend the classes," King said.

King has spent 30 years with the league in various roles and was elected to the position of second vice president two years ago, leading up to his ascension into the top leadership spot in October.

"I didn't want to be president," King said. "Just like I didn't want to be mayor. I was asked to do it because I know how municipal government works, so I did it. I know as much about it as anybody."

The league operates as an oversight agency for municipalities offering insurance, School of Government classes and a lobbying service with the legislature, a service King said is key to the league's function.

"We have an awful lot of issues that the legislature is getting involved in," King said. "A lot of times they don't fully understand the need of the league. We have 554 municipalities in North Carolina and the legislators tell me they listen to numbers. Well, we have numbers for them. Fifty-five percent of the population lives in municipalities."

King said that of the available population in municipalities, not enough people are involved with issues affecting them, but he hopes to change that.

During his time in office, he will focus on the growth of the league to show the legislature that municipalities matter.

King took over the reins from Immediate Past President Art Schools, mayor of Emerald Isle, and next year will slip into the immediate past president seat to make room for Burlington Mayor Ronnie Wall in the president's chair.

After serving as the immediate past president, King will join the pool of advice of past presidents available to him now.

"You don't really get uninvolved," King said.