The Mayor's majority are proposing an amendment to the City Charter that would let the Mayor vote on all matters, instead of breaking ties. Typically, a referendum of the people is held but the Council majority has other plans.
Village Charter Change Would Let Mayor Vote On All Matters
In a bold quest for additional control, Mayor Pollino, and the councilors that support him - Dispenziere & Vandenberg - approved a Resolution of Intent to Amend the City Charter, proposing to give the Mayor the right to vote on all matters. (Read: RS-2018-08-02)
In almost every town in North Carolina (if not all of them) the Mayor only votes in the event of a tie. However, Joe Pollino would like to change that, as soon as possible.
The Village Charter is Equivalent to Our City's 'Constitution'
A city's Charter is equivalent to a city's 'Constitution'. Although a city can change these important laws, it is rarely undertaken without thoughtful consideration (in the least) and without inviting residents of the city to vote on the change, in a referendum.
There are two Council-initiated processes for adopting a change to a city's charter:
a. Council Initiated Amendment, with a Referendum, or
b. Council Initiated Amendment; without a Referendum*
This Mayor and Council have hastily chosen option 'b'. However, it is important to note the following:
Under the Statute, when the Council initiates an amendment to the Charter,
and after they pass an ordinance detailing the change, residents of the city can force a referendum through a petition - a "Referendum Petition". Here is some 'Referendum Petition' information.Because we have seen a great deal of interest in this story, we will write a separate post on this soon.
Pollino - Dissatisfied with Mayor Job Description - Seeks More Control
1. Timing & Motive
Whether the amendment is right or wrong, residents we've spoken to are most upset about the transparency surrounding the issue. They are questioning the motives for introducing this change, at this time. With a public hearing, on a weekday morning, it's difficult for many of them to believe this attempt to "hear from the public" is sincere.
2. The Mayor's Job Description
Pollino voluntarily ran for Mayor in 2013, 2015 and 2017. Each time Pollino ran for Mayor, asking voters to hire him - he had full knowledge of the following:
a. The way our government works,
b. The nature of our Village Charter, and
c. Our Mayor / Council form of government, per NC statutes
3. The Mayor / Council Leadership Model
Debatably, in so running for this position, a mayoral candidate implicitly agrees to lead the Council, and the Village, using higher-order leadership skills.
When deadlocks occur, a Mayor should thoughtfully consider the arguments, and either facilitate further discussion, or break the deadlock with a vote. Obviously, the current Mayor is unsatisfied with his current role, his job description, and its level of authority. But, to be sure, this is the Mayoral job description for which Pollino campaigned.
4. The 'Quality Leadership' Argument
For some, there is a fear an amendment to the voting structure will fundamentally change the nature of the Mayor and Council government, in terms of the way it is supposed to work. There is good cause for concern. Such a change would allow a Mayor to rely less and less on listening, leadership and consensus-building - and more and more on politics by brute force.
Pollino's Majority Will Not Hold a Referendum on the Change
Pollino's Majority does not intend to place the charter amendment on the ballot. Instead, Pollino Council hopes to benefit from additional mayoral authority, as soon as possible.
Pollino's Need for Authority & the Vote in Recent History
The Mayor's effort to change his job description, mid-stream, may not be surprising to those who have watched Village politics closely.
Per Village records - as recent as August 8, 2017 and March 13, 2018, the Mayor has attempted to amend the Council's Rules of Procedure and introduce voting rights, to his position.
Each time, the rule change was prohibited because an adopted rule must comply with the Village Charter. It appears this left Pollino with only one option -- just change the Charter!
The Question on Everyone's Mind: Why the Rush?
The Most Widely Accepted Theory
The most widely accepted theory is that this Charter Amendment would immediately give Pollino the right to cast a vote, in the near future, to fill a prospective empty seat on the Council. There are several ways to speculate but, the variables below reflect the most popular theory...
Based on all assumptions in the model holding true the following scenario could come to fruition in the near future:
Mary Shkut will hold her office on the Marvin Council
A current member of the council majority will resign (unverified)
A vacancy on the Council will occur and leave four members behind
The remaining members will vote and select a new Council member
What Happens If the Mayor Doesn't Get the Right to Vote On All Matters
Under the model which most people feel is the most likely, the right to vote creates an uncomfortable scenario for a Mayor who refuses to govern without control over the majority.
a. The Mayor will never get to vote on the replacement Council member
b. Robert Epps and Mary Shkut could effectively vote-in the replacement
c. The Mayor & his developer friends could lose their Council strong-hold
Reasons They Are Seeking to Amend the Mayor's
Job Description Mid-Stream
The ability to appoint friends and commercial-friendly board members
The ability to fill prospective vacancies on the Council
The ability to vote, when motivated by impulse over merit
The ability to rely less, and less on consensus building
The ability to rely less, and less on listening and leadership
When is the Public Hearing on the Charter Amendment?
The meeting time, and meeting 'type', is suspect for a public hearing because it's clear the time will make it difficult for most members of the public to attend. Still the public can write members of the Council and make their opinions heard.
The public hearing on the Village Charter Amendment
August 30, 2018 9 am - Marvin Village Hall
10004 New Town Road, Marvin, NC 2817
Tips for Writing Members of the Marvin Council
Tips: In your email, be sure to do the following:
1. Copy all members of the Marvin Council (See link above or emails below.)
2. State whether you support or oppose the change, or
3. Specifically request what action you'd like to see the Council take
4. Do not feel compelled to write a lengthy email (unless you want to)
5. Specifically request your letter be entered into the meeting record
Get there contact email addresses on the Village of Marvin website: