The Goldsboro City Council remains in the dark on Councilman Antonio Williams' residency as details regarding his District 1 address are still under wraps.
Councilman David Ham, during a Monday council work session, asked for an update on the disclosure of Williams' residency.
Attorneys for the city of Goldsboro and Williams have been in discussions during the past week in an effort to verify Williams' address.
The matter recently became a concern of the council after it learned Williams is not living at the address listed on his voting record at the county Board of Elections office.
N.C. General Statute 160A-59 requires a council member live in the district he or she represents. N.C. General Statute 128-6 also protects elected officials, who are provided with due process, such as a judicial proceeding, before being removed from office.
The council has been focused on the home address of Williams, which would verify if he is living in District 1.
Ron Lawrence, city attorney, provided the council with a sworn affidavit from Williams that states he is living in District 1, with elderly relatives, and does not want to share his address due to safety and "potential harassment" concerns. He also states he sees no reason why others should demand to know where he lives.
"I do not wish to subject my elderly relatives to potential harassment and/or jeopardize their safety by disclosing their address, which I do not consider to be my permanent residence, and I do not believe there is a valid basis for the mayor, the city council or any private citizen to demand its disclosure," Williams said in the affidavit.
In order to hold public office, an elected official is required to be a registered voter. Registered voters are required to provide their address -- a matter of public record -- at the county Board of Elections office.
Williams' voter registration lists 304 Wilmington Ave. as his address. In the affidavit, Williams confirmed that he moved from the Wilmington Avenue home in 2016.
Lawrence told the council that Williams is holding office legally, until a proceeding such as a Board of Elections investigation, is held that proves he lives outside of District 1. Lawrence also said there is no concern for the council regarding the voting power of Williams.
"At this point, because there's not been some sort of proceeding that's made a determination, Councilman Williams is legally holding office, pursuant to that statute, so there's not an issue in regard to his votes," Lawrence said.
Mayor Chuck Allen said the council has no other action to take on the matter, unless it decides to pursue a motion proceeding, a quasi-judicial process that could take months, to determine Williams' residency.
"I think the general consensus is and it's my belief . . . this is really not a matter for us at this point," Allen said. "This is a matter of the Board of Elections or someone with governmental authority.
"I think we've done all we should do or were supposed to do by law."
Any Wayne County registered voter can challenge Williams' residency by submitting a challenge in writing, after the election and the canvass of the votes on May 19, said Dane Beavers, director of the Wayne County Board of Elections.
Councilman Gene Aycock said the affidavit didn't offer the council any information than they've already been told by Williams.
"He's not being upfront and that's all he has to be is upfront," Aycock said. "He gave us nothing. It's just as worthless as him saying nothing."
Ham said Williams' address should be disclosed and he remains concerned about whether Williams is holding office legally.
"I'm concerned about the fact, as I mentioned, that he has not disclosed his address," Ham said. "That's a requirement that the address be public knowledge.
"And so at this point and time, in my opinion, he still is not in compliance with the statute."