Don’t start out breaking the rules

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I sat several feet away from newly-elected Mayor Kenny Talton as he took the oath of office to his new post.

Talton’s lovely wife, Carrie, and daughter, Emma, stood by his side as State Sen. Don Davis Snow Hill administered the oath.

It was apparent at that point it was an emotional moment for the new mayor.

It became even more apparent as he finished his oath and addressed the standing-room-only crowd that packed the Historic Train Depot meeting hall.

At one point, he was overtaken with emotion and paused to wipe away a tear.

I looked on and thought about his late mother, Arlene, who served as the town’s clerk for more than 50 years.

She would have been proud of her son, and I am confident she was looking down with a smile.

Talton faces some difficult days ahead, but he sits now with the luxury of an experienced board of commissioners and an experienced town manager.

Everyone is calling for working together.

The talk sounds good, now walk the walk.

I wish Talton the best in his days ahead.

Everything so far has been impressive, but….

The very first order of business following the swearing-in session was to elect a mayor pro tem. But the way it was conducted violated the North Carolina Open Meetings and Public Records Law.

Law prohibits secret ballots and unsigned ballots.

When town attorney Carroll Turner handed out pieces of paper for board members to vote their choice of mayor pro tem, the ballots were turned over to the town clerk unsigned.

That violates North Carolina Law.

Perhaps some of y’all will say I am being a little picky, picky, but the bottom line is the law is the law is the law.

Elected leadership needs to be held accountable in following the very letters of the law.

Don’t start out breaking the rules, particularly after listening to a parade of speakers who urged unity and working together.

Keep a transparent agenda.

Let the out-of-whack way of selecting a mayor pro tem become a good lesson.

Why not move forward and do it openly? Because the people you serve deserve it.

There is nothing, absolutely nothing at town hall that needs to be hidden, because everything done is financed by the people of Mount Olive’s money. Get my drift?

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