Councilman Antonio Williams could lose his seat on the Goldsboro City Council as early as Monday if he fails to show proof that he lives in the district he represents.
The council voted 6-0 Wednesday afternoon to give Williams 48 hours to provide the city clerk with two legal documents -- a driver's license or water, electric or cable bill -- that verify his residency within District 1.
Williams has until Friday at 4:30 p.m. to provide the information.
By Monday morning, when the council meets at 8 a.m., Williams could be disqualified to serve on the council if he does not provide documentation or if he is found to not be living in the district, said Mayor Chuck Allen.
"By default, he would have to be off the council," Allen said. "If he doesn't provide any substantial proof by Monday morning, he would not be on the council. It's just the law."
City attorney Ron Lawrence told the council during a special called meeting Wednesday that state law -- N.C. General Statute 160A-59 -- requires a council member to live in the district he or she represents.
"If a council member no longer resides in the district, then they are unable to hold that office," Lawrence said. "It becomes an immediate vacancy. In fact, the statute says, it is 'ipso facto vacant.' There's not an argument about it."
At that point and time, he added, the council, by majority vote, would select someone else from the district to fill that position.
Allen said Williams did not attend the meeting due to a prior commitment, and Williams did not return a phone call seeking comment.
The Wednesday meeting was called after the city received an unsigned, three-page letter, written by "Goldsboro, NC District 1 Citizens," which alleges that Williams does not live in the district. Other allegations were included in the letter, including concerns that residents view Williams as not representing the interests of the people who elected him to office.
Lawrence said the question about Williams' residency was the only allegation he believed needed to be addressed, in part because any votes Williams has made could be voided if he is not a resident of District 1.
Lawrence said he met with Williams last week, just days after the city council received the letter.
"He told me that he did reside in the district," Lawrence said. "I did ask him for an address and he politely declined to give me an address."
According to Wayne County Board of Elections records, Williams, who was elected to office in 2015, listed 143 N. Center St. as his residence in 2015. Later in 2015, he changed his address to 304 Wilmington Ave., said Dane Beavers, Wayne County BOE director.
No other address changes have been submitted since that time, Beavers said.
Allen said he talked with the owner of 304 Wilmington Ave., who said Williams is not living at the residence.
Property owner Shirley Edwards confirmed that Williams moved into the house in 2015, and lived there about a year.
"He does not live in my house," Edwards said.
Allen recommended to council the 48-hour window for Williams to submit documentation to the city clerk, which will then be sent to members of the council to review prior to the Monday meeting.
Councilman Bevan Foster asked if the 48 hours would start when Williams is contacted. Allen said the 48 hours is ample time, since the council will not discuss the issue until Monday morning.
"To be quite frank, he has it or he doesn't have it," Allen said. "He lives there or he doesn't live there. It's incumbent on him to give us the information."
Foster read a signed, notarized letter from Williams during the meeting. In the letter, Williams said he lived in District 1 before he was elected to office and that he continues to live in the district.
Councilman David Ham asked if an address was listed in the letter. Foster said no address was provided.
Foster asked the city attorney if the council was following the law and asked what process the council is supposed to take.
Lawrence said he consulted with the University of North Carolina School of Government, which confirmed that the inquiry into Williams' residency is allowed. He also said state law and the city's charter do not outline steps to be taken when a council member's residency falls into question.
"I just want to make sure we're not opening ourselves up to any litigation or anything," Foster said.
Lawrence said Williams can file suit to challenge his seat and any related council decision.
Councilman Gene Aycock said the council meeting would not have taken place if Williams had previously provided verification of his residency.
"On last Friday, if he had given Ron (Lawrence) a valid address, this meeting would not have been necessary," Aycock said.