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  • Are Employees of Seasonal Recreational Establishments Exempt from Overtime?

    Authored by: on Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

    Many local governments hire additional employees for the late spring through early fall months. This period sees the opening of municipal and county pools and summer camps, increased activity at parks, golf courses, tennis courts, as well as beaches for communities on the coast or on one of North Carolina’s many lakes, and the need for seasonal workers. Which of these employees will be exempt from overtime under the FLSA’s exemption for employees working at a seasonal amusement or recreational establishment? Read more »

  • Donating Property: Beware of Constitutional Constraints

    Authored by: on Monday, April 13th, 2015

    The old school administration building has been renovated and there is furniture and shelving that can be sold as surplus property. A board member has raised the possibility of donating them to the local arts council. She notes that G.S. 160A-280 authorizes donations to nonprofit organizations. Can the school make this donation? The answer is no. The North Carolina constitution constrains local government authority to make donations. Read more »

  • Errors in Deed Certifications

    Authored by: on Friday, April 10th, 2015

    About 80 counties have the authority under G.S. 161-31 to require a tax certification before recording a deed.  In counties that have opted into this requirement, the registrar of deeds may not record a deed unless the county tax collector first certifies that there are no delinquent property taxes owed on the property being transferred.

    I’ve blogged about the basics of the tax certification process here.  Today I focus on the most popular question I get about this process: what happens if the tax office makes a mistake and certifies a deed for registration without realizing there are delinquent taxes owed on the property?

    Read more »

  • Proposed Reorganization and Modernization of Planning and Development Regulation Statutes

    Authored by: on Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

    Do planners, developers, neighborhood activists, local officials, and land use lawyers need to get ready for a complete reorganization and modernization of state statutes on local planning and development regulation?  They will if legislation recently introduced in the 2015 session of the General Assembly is adopted.

    House Bill 548, introduced on April 2, 2015, is entitled “AN ACT TO REORGANIZE, CLARIFY, AND MODERNIZE STATUTES REGARDING LOCAL PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT REGULATION.”  It proposes to do just that.

    Where did this bill come from? How was it developed? And just what does it really do? Read more »

  • Building the Record for a Quasi-Judicial Decision

    Authored by: on Friday, April 3rd, 2015

    “Every quasi-judicial decision shall be based upon competent, material, and substantial evidence in the record” (NCGS 160A-388(e2)). Without such evidence, the decision is arbitrary and an abuse of the discretion vested in the board (Godfrey v. Zoning Board of Adjustment, 317 N.C. 51 (1986)). So what is the record? What evidence goes in that record? And how is the evidence obtained? This blog explores those and other questions. Read more »

  • Perspective on the Separation of Powers Case

    Authored by: on Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

    Earlier this month a panel of three superior court judges held that the General Assembly’s appointment of a majority of members to the new Oil and Gas, Mining and Coal Ash commissions violates the state constitutional provision on separation of powers. The decision, which is subject to direct appeal to the state supreme court, is the most recent litigation in a 30+ years’ tug-of-war between the governor and legislature over administrative agencies. Some perspective on that conflict, and a brief look at how the courts’ view of separation of powers has evolved in recent years, may be useful in thinking about what comes next. Read more »

  • Delegating Local Health Director Legal Powers & Duties

    Authored by: on Monday, March 30th, 2015

    It doesn’t happen every day, but it does happen regularly: a North Carolina community is affected by a public health problem that requires an urgent response. Perhaps it is an outbreak of a communicable disease, like the H1N1 pandemic that reached North Carolina in the spring of 2009. Or it could be an imminent threat from an environmental health hazard, like the fire that occurred at a Wake county chemical storage facility in 2006. These are dramatic examples but they represent public health issues that arise regularly, though not on a predictable schedule.

    Local health directors have legal authority to take quick action to protect the public health in these scenarios. But what happens if the health director is out of town and unreachable, or present but unable to act? Can someone else exercise the health director’s powers and duties?

    The short answer is yes. Almost all of the statutory duties of a North Carolina local health director may be delegated to another appropriate person. But what are those duties? To whom can they or should they be delegated? What should be documented? What are the special considerations for consolidated human services agencies? And finally, who needs to know about the health director’s delegation decisions? Read more »