KFP: Changes proposed for local bill process

by David Anderson

Mayoral intern presents proposals during recent Kinston council meeting

City of Kinston intern Adam Caldwell, with guidance from Mayor B.J. Murphy, recently presented proposals to change the state Legislature’s local bill process to craft legislation that is fairer to local governments.

“We recognize that counties and cities are creations of the state,” Caldwell stated in his report, delivered at last Tuesday’s City Council meeting. “Nonetheless, a more clearly defined system of checks and balances is needed, since some local bills do not necessarily reflect local issues.”

A local bill allows a state legislator to effect change in a single municipality or county via state law, and does not have to be signed by the governor once approved by a majority vote by the General Assembly.

Caldwell, a freshman at ECU, was one of three interns to work with Murphy this past summer.

“When I interviewed each internship candidate I tried to find their strengths, and Adam seemed to be really interested in public policy,” the mayor said Saturday.

Murphy said he told Caldwell “I had a thought for a public project, and I told him I wanted him to research it and see if there was something that we could do to change the current system.”

Earlier this year, city officials scrambled to defeat a local bill proposed by former Rep. Stephen LaRoque, R-Lenoir, to equalize water and sewer rates for Kinston utility customers living in and outside of the city limits.

Kinston’s outside utility customers — like those in many other cities in the state — are charged higher rates to maintain infrastructure extended to areas outside of town decades ago, where no other infrastructure existed.

City leaders feared this could cause a major rate increase for inside customers, and hit industrial customers especially hard.

“The water and sewer issue that was discussed in the local bill did not distinguish Kinston from other municipalities,” Murphy said.

The bill was opposed by other members of Lenoir County’s legislative delegation, and was ultimately sent back to committee without a vote.

Caldwell’s report laid out the local bill process, which has not been effectively changed since 1917.

The report noted “the rules governing local bills differ in the short and long sessions of the General Assembly.”

The General Assembly had a long session in 2011, which included passage of a two-year budget, and a short session of a few months in 2012, when LaRoque’s bill came up.

Any legislator can introduce a local bill during a long session held during an odd year, but during short sessions in even years, a legislator must obtain consensus from his or her delegation, which LaRoque had reportedly not done before introducing his water and sewer bill.

Caldwell’s report noted House and Senate members who represent Lenoir County had opposed the bill.

The report included two suggestions for improving the local bill process, such as a statute requiring the same rules for short and long sessions, and ensuring the “majority of the local delegation” approves of the bill.

The second suggestion calls for examining “current NC statutes and clarify what does and does not constitute a ‘local’ issue. This would ensure that what should be a statewide, public bill is not being resolved through the local bill process.”

Murphy said, once this year’s elections are settled in November, Kinston officials will present the proposed changes to local legislators, leaders of the House and Senate, and various committee members.

The mayor said Caldwell “received nothing but praise from the council members for his research and putting this together.”


David Anderson can be reached at 252-559-1077 or David.Anderson@Kinston.com. Follow him on Twitter at DavidFreePress.

KFP: Three local youths spend summer interning with Kinston mayor


by David Anderson

From left, Adam Caldwell, Austin Croom and Carly Sanderson along with Mayor B.J. Murphy listen to Gary Green, assistant director of human resources, as he gives a new employee briefing to the Mayors interns.
Janet S. Carter / The Free Press

Three local youths have spent the summer with a level of access to Kinston city government few people get.

“They’ve all got a key to my office. … The idea is to expose them to how city government operates,” said Mayor B.J. Murphy, who has been working with three summer interns.

The interns include Adam Caldwell, 19, of Sampson County, a freshman at ECU and a member of the N.C. National Guard; Austin Croom, 17, of Dover, a rising senior at Bethel Christian Academy; and Carly Sanderson, 16, of Jones County, a rising junior at Bethel and is dual-enrolled at the N.C. School of Science and Mathematics.

The trio came on board late last month, and has had the opportunity to tour community facilities such as the Woodmen Community Center, City Hall, the Public Services complex and more, sat in on a meeting of the Lenoir County Transportation Committee, attended events such as the recent presentation of a grant for Kinston’s African-American Music Trail by U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield and more.

They have also worked on various projects to benefit the city.

Caldwell has conducted research on how best to improve local bills made in the state Legislature.

“I’ve always been very interested in government and politics,” he said. “When I read about this internship I felt it was right up my alley and decided to apply.”

Croom looked into the regulations on trapping squirrels in the city limits — he and Caldwell recently made presentations on their findings before the Kinston City Council.

“I thought it would be a good chance to see what our local leaders do on a daily basis. … I’ve enjoyed my work on the projects that I’ve had,” Croom said.

Sanderson has been reaching out to residents of Mitchelltown who are continuing to work to improve their neighborhood, and helping Murphy with content for his regular newsletter.

“I’ve really enjoyed it,” she said of her experience. “It’s given me a better look at what our officials do on a day-to-day basis.”

The interns also had an opportunity to meet with Gary Green, the city’s assistant director for human resources, and go through a typical new-employee orientation.

“We all recognize how valuable good employees are,” Green told them.


David Anderson can be reached at 252-559-1077 or danderson@freedomenc.com. Follow him on Twitter at DavidFreePress.



Name: Adam Caldwell

Age: 19

Occupation: Student at ECU; N.C. National Guard


Name: Austin Croom

Age: 17

Occupation: Student, Bethel Christian Academy


Name: Carly Sanderson

Age: 16

Occupation: Student, BCA; volunteer with Blessings in a Backpack

Mayor Interns Getting Exposed to Local Government

2012 Mayor’s Summer Interns:
Carly Sanderson, rising Junior at Bethel Christian Academy
Austin Croom, rising Senior at Bethel Christian Academy
Adam Caldwell, Freshman at East Carolina University

Here’s a list of some of the things the interns have done:

  • City Manager’s meeting with Department Heads
  • Breakfast meeting with Mayor and City Manager
  • Lenoir County Transportation Meeting
  • Presentation(s) to Kinston City Council
  • Luncheon with NC Sen. David Rouzer, Candidate for US Congress
  • Arts grant presentation by US Rep. GK Butterfield
  • Tour of the NRWASA Water Plant
  • Small group discussion with UNC grad students on our new Arts & Cultural District near Mitchelltown
  • Communication via email and phone with NCGA bill drafting and other mayors
  • Tour of the Woodmen Community Center














Video: Reece Gardner Interview on July 24 2012

This week on the Reece Gardner Hour, Reece and I discuss recent headlines, Mayor’s internship program, 2013 Mayor’s race, street resurfacing funding increase, technology improvements at the City (kiosks, online applications and social media), future political office, Section 5 of the Civil Rights Act, endorsement of Pat McCrory (Gov), Dan Forest (Lt Gov), John Bell (NC House) and David Rouzer (US House), partnership with the Arts Council for a $100,000 grant, revitalization efforts, MLK corridor improvements, demolition by neglect.

You should see some significant improvements from City Hall on out over the next four or five years.

My interview begins at 29:15.

KFP: Kinston mayor seeking summer intern

Position open to high schoolers ages 16 and up, and college students

by David Anderson

Kinston Mayor B.J. Murphy is encouraging local high school and college students to apply for a summer internship with the mayor’s office.

“The hope of the program is that it will entice our young people to become more engaged with our local government, to help them understand what it is we do, get in some good experiences with the (city) council, with media relations and hopefully help build their resume for future endeavors,” Murphy said.

The program is open to college freshmen and sophomores, and high school juniors and seniors at least 16 years old. Home-school students can also apply.

Anyone interested should send a cover letter, resume, two letters of recommendation and a writing sample to Mayor@Kinstonnc.gov by July 23.

Applicants should have a valid North Carolina driver’s license, be cleared to work in the U.S. and have at least a 2.0 GPA and good school attendance record.

There is currently one position open, but Murphy said that number could be expanded depending on the applicant pool.

The intern would begin work in early August and spend five to 10 hours per week working with Murphy. The internship will last about four weeks.

“My hope is that this person or persons can help me organize coffee talks with community leaders, research important issues affecting Kinston and work on fun projects like video and social media technology,” the mayor explained.

Murphy hoped to expand the internship program, to allow students to work with him during the fall and spring.

“I just want to help engage with young people of our community, to give them a change to be a part of some of the good things we’ve got going,” he said. “We’re looking for talented, outgoing, aggressive young people in our community that want to see Kinston become a better place.”


David Anderson can be reached at 252-559-1077 or danderson@freedomenc.com. Follow him on Twitter at DavidFreePress.



City of Kinston mayoral internship


  • Communications
  • Legislative research and writing
  • Community engagement


  • Must be at least 16 years of age and have a valid N.C. Driver’s License
  • Must be eligible to work in the United States
  • Must have at least a 2.0 GPA and solid attendance record
  • Must be a junior or senior in high school or freshman or sophomore in college

To Apply:

Submit cover letter, resume, two letters of recommendation, and a writing sample to Mayor@Kinstonnc.gov by July 23.


Source: Mayor B.J. Murphy newsletter

Announcing the Mayor’s Summer Intern Program

For the next two weeks, my office is accepting applications for the Mayor’s Summer Intern Program.
We are seeking a rising high school junior through college sophomore to assist my office during the month of August.  The intern will assist in preparation for City Council meetings, help schedule community events, work on legislative research, and dabble with social media and web technologies.
Feel free to suggest this program to any student in this age range whom you think would benefit from this local government experience.

City of Kinston

Internship Opportunities


Mayor’s Summer Intern Program                           SALARY:  UNPAID

The Mayor’s Office for the City of Kinston is currently seeking an intern who desires to gain first-hand experience in the administration of local government. A successful applicant will have general knowledge in social media, web development, and/or internet technologies. The intern is expected to have good oral skills, be highly motivated, responsible, punctual, and committed.  Summer internship will be approximately 10 hours per week throughout the month of August.

Duties include:

  • Communications
  • Legislative Research and Writing
  • Community Engagement


  • Must be at least 16 years of age and have a valid NC Driver’s License
  • Must be eligible to work in the United States
  • Must have at least a 2.0 GPA and solid attendance record
  • Must be a junior or senior in high school or freshman or sophomore in college

To Apply:

Submit cover letter, resume, two letters of recommendation, and a writing sample to Mayor@Kinstonnc.gov by July 23, 2012.