by David Anderson
Kinston Free Press
HB 310, if passed, gives mayor power to overturn any City Council action
The mayor of Kinston is largely a figurehead position, but if the General Assembly passes House Bill 310, that position could become much more powerful.
“One of the impetuses for looking for something like this is the City Council’s actions regarding the mayor in the past few weeks,” said Rep. Stephen LaRoque, R-Lenoir, the bill’s sponsor.
The members of the City Council and Mayor B.J. Murphy have been at odds in recent weeks over Murphy’s support of a bill by LaRoque to repeal Kinston’s annexation when the council was against it.
“It appears that they tried to marginalize the mayor in his position,” LaRoque said.
Murphy refused to sign a resolution passed unanimously by the council opposing LaRoque’s annexation legislation, and then wrote a letter to the legislature expressing his support of the bill, without telling the council.
The council voted to remove Murphy from the U.S. 70 Corridor Commission — although they stressed it was not related — and later passed an ordinance stripping the mayor of his traditional duty of signing council resolutions and other documents.