BELVILLE,NC (WWAY) -- Belville has a new mayor, effective Friday night. Jack Batson stepped down and Mayor Pro-tem Mike Allen stepped up.
As commissioners sat down to decide whether to censure Mayor Batson, they were completely caught off guard with his letter of resignation.
“I was caught by surprise totally because we did not see this coming,” Allen says.
Last week, then Mayor Jack Batson was accused of secretly moving forward in a merger with Leland without commissioners' approval resulting in a resolution disallowing Batson to discuss the merger publicly. During a special meeting Friday, Batson threw in the towel.
"Please inform all people and organizations with a need to know that William J. Batson Jr. has resigned as mayor of Belville," he handwrote on a blank sheet of paper.
“I think it was a surprise for everyone, but I think for the town it's a good move,” said John Clark, a Belville resident. “We're going to move forward.”
After Allen was sworn in as the new acting mayor and commissioner Charles Bost was sworn in as mayor pro-tem.
“I think it will be good,” Clark says. “We've got a joint board that will move forward with these issues.”
Allen says as mayor he promises to push for the agenda of the people.
“They don't want to merge with Leland, they like the low tax rate they have and they like their quiet little town and until they tell us different, that's the direction we'll head in.”
Allen will remain mayor until the next election cycle in 2013, unless the board requests a special election before then.