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Back You are here: Home News Local and State News Local UPDATE: Rep. Susi Hamilton Will Not Take Carolina Beach Town Manager Position

UPDATE: Rep. Susi Hamilton Will Not Take Carolina Beach Town Manager Position

By: Willard H. Killough III
Managing Editor

UPDATE: According to Carolina Beach Mayor Pro-tem Steve Shuttleworth, as of 3PM Wednesday July 24, "The Town of Carolina Beach and representative Hamilton were unable to reach final terms acceptable to both parties regarding the position of Town Manager. We wish Mrs. Hamilton the best of luck."

Shuttleworth explained, "Mrs. Hamilton has elected to continue serving in the NC House of Representatives which was a term of employment that was unamanagebale for our commmunity. Yesterdays announcement and news articles were ahead of the final action."

Rep. Hamilton issued a statement explaining, "Both The Town of Carolina Beach and I acted on good faith regarding my ability to serve both the Town and in the NCGA.  We did so on information we received from the legislative ethics staff, who advised us based on their knowledge and research that it would be lawful and appropriate and I could do both. My personal ethics would never have allowed the process to move forward at all without clearance from the ethics committee.  Based on information received today about an obscure statute specific to town managers of towns with populations greater that 3,000, state law says that I must resign as soon as I accept this position. This changes the nature of my decision.  In the past Carolina Beach has experienced considerable political activity.  I was comfortable working with the existing Mayor and Council.  However, there is an election in November, and elections have consequences.  I was OK with this uncertainty when my resignation was not eminent.  I will continue to serve in the North Carolina General Assembly and fight hard for my constituents in District 18.  I have worked diligently and effectively and will continue to rail against the current majorities efforts to undermine public education. There are many more battles ahead that I intend to fight on behalf of women, children, minorities, the elderly, the disadvantaged, students, teachers, the sick – the list is too long.  I must to fight for the best interests of District 18 and all North Carolinians.”

CAROLINA BEACH - The Town of Carolina Beach announced Tuesday July 23, the Town Council had selected NC House Representative Susi Hamilton as their new Town Manager starting August 5th.

In a release issued by the Town on Tuesday it stated:

Rep. Susi Hamilton (D-18 New Hanover, Brunswick) announced today that she has accepted a position as Town Manager for the Town of Carolina Beach with a start date of Aug. 5, 2013. She is currently serving her second term in the N.C. General Assembly.
 
“It will be an honor to follow Interim Managers Bruce Shell and Ed Parvin, and I look forward to working hard to serve the residents of Carolina Beach,” Hamilton said. “Having grown up spending my free time on the beach or in the water, I do have salt in my veins and treasure our coastline. This is an exciting time for Carolina Beach, and the Boardwalk extension and new hotel are just the foundation of my vision for what we can achieve. Carolina Beach is uniquely poised for success because of its natural beauty, heritage, vibrant business climate, reputation and management team. I am very much looking forward to making an even stronger mark on the map for us.”
 
Mayor Bob Lewis said the decision to hire Hamilton was based on several key factors. “Susi was the unanimous choice of Council to take over where Interim Town Manager Bruce Shell left off,” he said. “Susi brings with her a wealth of government and private management experience along with her relationships she has developed at the state level. During these times when federal funding for projects such as beach nourishment and inlet dredging are in jeopardy, having a Town Manager with her experience in the legislature will be invaluable to developing additional partnerships with our state government.”

On Wednesday Mayor Bob Lewis explained it was the Town's understanding that Hamilton would resign her seat in the NC House to take the manager position.

In a statement issued by Hamilton on Tuesday night, she stated, "I am absolutely thrilled to have accepted the position of Town Manager of Carolina Beach, and look forward to working diligently and effectively for its citizens.  It is important to note that the North Carolina General Assembly does not require a member to resign in order to accept a full time position, and there are no immediate plans for any change in my elected status.  I am extremely excited to have this opportunity, and look forward to continuing to serve our community.”

What does the North Carolina State Law Say?

Under NC General Statute § 128‑1.1.  "Dual‑office holding allowed" under section (b) states, "Any person who holds an elective office in State or local government is hereby authorized by the General Assembly, pursuant to Article VI, Sec. 9 of the North Carolina Constitution to hold concurrently one other appointive office, place of trust or profit, in either State or local government."

That appears to give permission for Hamilton to remain in elected office while taking the full time position as Town Manager for Carolina Beach.

However, under General Statute § 160A‑147.  "Appointment of city manager; dual office holding", it states that, "The office of city manager is hereby declared to be an office that may be held concurrently with other appointive (but not elective) offices pursuant to Article VI, Sec. 9, of the Constitution."

In another section of that law it states:

Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a), a city manager may hold elective office if the following criteria are met:
(1)        The population of the city by which the city manager is employed does not exceed 3,000.
(2)        The city manager is an elected official of a city other than the city by which the city manager is employed.

According to the latest U.S. Census Bureau count, the population of Carolina Beach is 5,809 (July 2011).

Mayor Lewis said Wednesday morning the Town had asked Hamilton to resign her seat to take the manager job or pass on the job.

Mayor Pro-tem Steve Shuttleworth said he was surprised by the announcement Tuesday late-afternoon because it was his understanding Hamilton would be in Carolina Beach later this week and a joint announcement would be made at Town Hall on Friday.

In order to make it official, the Council would have to vote in an open meeting to agree upon an employment contract. The salary would be in the $90,000 range along with a vehicle allowance, health and dental coverage and other benefits.

Democrat Representative Hamilton serves District 18 (Brunswick and New Hanover Counties) and is in her second term in the NC House.