Marvin Charter Amendment's First Reading? Yes. They Have the Votes.

Marvin Mayor clearly has the simple majority needed to pass the Village Charter Amendment at the second reading this month. Surprising twist will require a simple majority vote before the end of this month. A special meeting announcement is expected.

Village Charter Amendment Meeting Was Well Attended by Citizens

Despite the rainy weather, at least thirty members of the public attended the Marvin Village Council meeting, held this past Wednesday, October 10, 2018, at Firethorne Clubhouse. Most members of the public were there to find out whether the Marvin Council majority would continue to push-through a Charter Amendment. The City Charter change would provide Marvin's Mayor the authority to cast his own vote, on all matters, coming before the Village Council.

Lack of Support for the Amendment

The amendment has not received popular support among Marvin voters; particularly given that Marvin faced a Village shut-down under this Mayor's leadership. And public records indicate a lack of mayoral judgment: regarding a recent Council appointment; exorbitant expenditures on politically motivated legal battles; susceptibility to personal, land development associates, and an inability to encourage consensus among Council members. Voters commented on their reluctance to provide this Mayor, in particular, with a privilege rarely provided to Mayor's in North Carolina.

Councilors Fall Short of Providing Justifications in the Public Interest

Residents had asked Council members, in favor of the amendment (namely Dispenziere, Vandenberg and Pollino) to provide sound reasons for introducing the Charter Amendment. The explanations these Council members offered on October 10 distinctly highlighted political reasons for the amendment, and failed to explain why the city charter amendment was in the best interests of the electorate. This clearly disappointed residents.

Additionally, the political reasons being offered caused the agenda discussion to 'go off the rails', at several points during the meeting; as Councilors Epps and Shkut were then in the position of having to expose grave inaccuracies through a ready set of public records.

Council Rules of Procedure Required a Super-Majority

Still, Councilwoman Shkut repeatedly called for the discussion to center on the agenda item, particularly the merits of the Charter Amendment. The Firethorne facility closing time finally forced the Mayor to hold a vote. Dispenziere and the Village attorney noted a super-majority would be required to pass the ordinance on the first reading. Councilwoman Shkut appeared surprised the rule applied to all ordinances, and not just zoning ordinances. However, the Rules of Procedure were clear and a vote was held.

The Vote Fell Short of a Super-Majority

The vote on the Charter Amendment was held. Councilors Shkut and Epps voted in opposition to the Charter Amendment. Councilors Dispenziere and Vandenberg voted in favor of the proposed change. Mayor Pollino broke the tie, siding with Dispenziere and Vandenberg. This resulted in a 3-2 vote; falling short of the super-majority needed to pass the ordinance on the 'first reading'. However, only a simple majority is required to pass the Charter Amendment on the second reading, which is expected to come this month.

Council Is Pressed to Vote in October

Councilor Shkut noted that, pursuant to NCGS 160A-102, a Charter Amendment expires if a governing board fails to pass the proposed amendment within sixty-days. This means the Marvin Council must pass the proposed amendment by October 30, 2018, to prevent the amendment from elapsing.

Special Meeting Will Be Scheduled

The Marvin Council agreed to schedule a special meeting, in the evening, solely dedicated to holding a second vote on the City Charter amendment. A special meeting can be called with 48 hours of providing notice to the public. This meeting has yet to be scheduled.

The Council Has the Simple-Majority Required

According to some sources, certain Council members in the majority appeared willing to call for a special election on the matter, but the degree to which this is true, was difficult to discern. Based on the voting results in this meeting, the Council clearly has the simple majority to pass the Charter Amendment at the second reading - and residents should be prepared to see it pass.