Posts Tagged ‘public officers’

De Facto Officers Versus Intruders

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

Last November the voters elected a new town council, and to celebrate the victors invited their local congressman to administer the oath of office.  Several months later some pedant pointed out that North Carolina law doesn’t permit congressmen to administer oaths of office, and so the new board had not legally qualified for office.  The […]

Getting Your Message Across: What Can Public Officials Say In Support of Pending Policies or Proposals?

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

After a grueling budget season, the county board of commissioners has cut, and cut, and cut. The board members have come to the conclusion that, to avoid serious diminution in services, they must increase revenue. The next step is to put the local option sales tax on the ballot and hope that they can convince […]

Wearing Several Hats: Multiple and Ex Officio Office-Holding

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

In an earlier blog, I discussed the meaning of “public office.”  As promised, I will now examine multiple and ex officio office-holding.

What’s a “Public Office”?

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

What’s a “Public Office”? I am often asked to explain what it means to hold a public office. The questioner is sometimes trying to decide whether a particular person must take an oath, which is required of public office-holders.  Or, the person may be trying to determine whether certain positions may be held simultaneously under North Carolina’s […]

Board Members as Employees

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

The governing board of a small town believes that it would be advantageous to hire the mayor as a part-time town administrator. Is this legal? In some cases, it is. There are two main legal prohibitions that would generally bar a local government board member from being employed by his or her unit of government. […]

Powers of Mayors

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

Compared with many other states, North Carolina has created a very limited role for mayors. Our state laws leave many decisions about the management and operation of municipalities to the governing board, or, in jurisdictions operating in a council-manager form of government, to managers. Here’s a review of the basic authority the legislature gives mayors.

Lame Ducks and Members-Elect: What Can They Do After the Election and Before Swearing In?

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

The elections are over, but there’s still some time before new members will be sworn in. Questions arise about what the roles and rights are of both the outgoing “lame duck” members, and the members-elect. Is it legal, and if so, it is appropriate, for lame duck members to make significant decisions, such as hiring […]

City and County Attorneys as Public Officers – Possible Downsides

Friday, September 18th, 2009

Last week I discussed a possible advantage of considering city or county attorneys as public officers – the governing board’s ability to hold a closed session to consider an attorney’s qualifications, character, performance, and so on.  This week I want to discuss a couple of possible disadvantages – to having a firm designated as county […]

City and County Attorneys as Public Officers – a Possible Upside

Friday, September 11th, 2009

In last week’s blog post, I discussed the status under the public records law of records kept in his or her law office by a local government attorney who serves on a contract basis, rather than as an employee.  I noted that one of the rationales given by the Court of Appeals, in the Kitty […]

Client-Related Records and the Public Records Law

Friday, September 4th, 2009

When local governments retain attorneys who are in private practice, when are records held by the attorneys subject to the public records law and therefore open to public inspection?  The court of appeals has ruled on this issue in a case involving attorneys representing a city, but one rationale given by the court would extend […]