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CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WWAY) — Rep. Susi Hamilton (D-18th District) says she will keep her seat in the North Carolina House of Representatives after issues arose about her becoming Carolina Beach Town Manager.

After announcing last night that she had accepted the job and would continue to serve in the legislature, town leaders learned today that North Carolina General Statute 160A precludes town managers from holding elected office.

“Both The Town of Carolina Beach and I acted on good faith regarding my ability to serve both the Town and in the NCGA,” Hamilton said in a statement. “We did so on information we received from the legislative ethics staff, who advised us based on their knowledge and research that it would be lawful and appropriate and I could do both. My personal ethics would never have allowed the process to move forward at all without clearance from the ethics committee.”

In her statement Hamilton said learning of the “obscure statute” that would require her to choose between the two jobs changes everything.

“In the past Carolina Beach has experienced considerable political activity,” Hamilton said. “I was comfortable working with the existing Mayor and Council. However, there is an election in November, and elections have consequences. I was OK with this uncertainty when my resignation was not eminent (sic). I will continue to serve in the North Carolina General Assembly and fight hard for my constituents in District 18.”

After learning of the law this morning, Carolina Beach Mayor Bob Lewis said he wanted Hamilton’s decision by the end of the day. The decision he got was not the one he wanted.

“I’m a little disappointed,” Lewis said. “No. 1, we didn’t make the first announcement, and we didn’t really plan for that announcement to be made until Friday after we voted in the open session to confirm the contract agreement and the terms of that. We were going to have a public relations opportunity to introduce Susi Hamilton, and her publicist decided to get it out there quicker, and she made that announcement not really knowing the full extent of the law.”

This afternoon Hamilton’s publicist Tori Jones asked us to “give (Hamilton) some space” as she makes this “life-changing decision for her and her constituents.”

Carolina Beach leaders say they were caught off guard when Jones released the statement about Hamilton’s new job. Jones said she e-mailed the media shortly after 5 p.m. Tuesday because she believed the town was going to release its announcement at the same time. An e-mail from the town’s social media director soon followed.

Lewis said they have offered Hamilton the job, but a formal, public vote would not come until a meeting Friday. He said Hamilton would have made between $88,000 and $98,000, which Lewis said is less than former Town Manager Tim Owen.

Hamilton is in her second term representing a district that runs from downtown Wilmington across northern Brunswick County.

Comment on this Story

  • L. W. Hatch

    Request you obtain a copy of the signed and dated contract which will show everyone the Donkeys are behind the cart. Is it not against the law to enter into and sign the contract days before the required Public Meeting is held and Council voting in Public so the citizens can observe what they are doing? Perhaps all the Council needs some training from Institute of Government? Have the two appointed Council Members ever attended any training? It also looks like they are “reacting” instead of “responding” to the situation they put themselves into. Tuesday, November 5th will provide for much needed changes!

  • Theo

    Can Carolina Beach do ANYTHING right and on the level?

    We have a corrupt democrat attempting to “double-dip” on gigs. We have an unusually corrupt beach town full of politicians engaged in corruption, malfeasance and ethical apathy. And people simply talk in clichés and meaningless rhetoric. Pathetic.

    I haven’t and will not spend a penny of our household dollars in Carolina Beach until the government is cleaned up. Pfft, not in my lifetime.

  • Guest4022

    There are some flags here. Last night Hamilton stated “there are no immediate plans for any change in my elected status.” In listening to today’s video, at the 1:01 point the mayor says that she was planning to resign but that would take about a month. Explains “immediate”. She was going to quit. Changed her mind after it all became messy. She knew the law.

  • Guest2020

    Somebody got caught with her pants down. I hope voters remember that come election time.

  • tke1

    I guess CB will have to get their “pork” somewhere else. It would have been a good setup if they could have swung the deal.

  • SurfCityTom

    Sounds like a he said – she said; and they have not even had a vote or signed a contract.

    They were caught off gaurd.

    How about caught with some egg foo yung flying into the face?

  • Guest-o-matic

    …on his boat and trailer for over 5 years. He said, “I didn’t know I had to pay taxes on those.” Really now?

  • ChefnSurf

    That kind of makes the phrase “political leader” look like an oxymoron.

    What an embarassing mess.

  • SurfCityTom

    The Mayor and Council may not have known.

    But, she said they sought advice from the Legislative committee which oversees this area; and accoridng to her or her aide, they gave false information.

    Someone needs to go. Either the Legislative employee who gave bad advice, the aide who tried to bluff her way through this, or the elected Representative who may have thought the voting populace was too dumb to catch her on this.

  • Guest1118

    I am against film incentives or any incentives as I don’t like government picking winners and losers.

    FYI: it’s “taxpayer”, “losing” and “paid”.

  • Film Gal

    As a Tax Payer, I shiver at the thought of loosing such a champion of film in the House. The Film industy is an important part of the economic pie for New Hanover County. As a woman – I would say… don’t you dare resign for a job where they payed the man who had the job before you more money.

  • Guest87687

    On your position of “As a woman – I would say… don’t you dare resign for a job where they payed the man who had the job before you more money” What’s it got to do with being a woman? Sounds like a very sexist postion. It’s likely about qualifications. The incoming person is likely not as experienced, and not as qualified as the previous person in that position. In fact, this – soon to be not – incoming person’s position on many of the issues that they have voted on shows their lack of knowledge on many fronts.

    You would think that a person in a legislative position would have a reasonable understanding of existing state law as it applies to their own personal undertakings.

    BTW: It’s “taxpayer”, “losing”, “industry”, and “paid”

  • Jack Fetner

    I hate it when people interchange lose and loose. Film gal should have shivered at the thought of “losing” such a champion of film etc. However she should not worry that they “paid” the man who had the job before more money. He may have had more experience and knowledge or at least apparently so.

  • taxpayer

    Suzi should resign her House position. She’s being paid to be the Town Manager. If she doesn’t, she should forfeit her salary while the Legislature is in session.

  • ElvisD

    Thanks to Ms. Hamilton, we have fracking in NC. She voted to override the veto after she secured “incentives” for the film industry. Hers was the deciding vote. I’m not quite sure how “incentives” are fundamentally different from bribes, but I guess that is what lawyers are for. BTW, if fracking is so safe, why give the drillers an exemption from the Clean Water Act? She facilitated their ability to ruin our water supply in NC with zero consequences to them.

    Thanks again, Susi, for selling out North Carolina for a few bucks. Too bad none of those wells will end up in your backyard.

    Please quit the House to limit any further damage to North Carolina. Please contain your ability to inflict damage to Carolina Beach.

  • ltbucky50@hotmail.com

    stay where you are. Our water in carolina beach is bad enough, We don’t need your help. And why should you hold two jobs when so many other qualified people are out of work

  • L. W. Hatch

    Looks like the Town of CB five Donkeys are not smart enough to pull the cart, so they are behind, pushing, by having a Public Meeting after a contract has been signed and salary set. Hurry up November 5th and let us get a Mayor and two Council Members that stay ahead of the cart and obey the laws.

  • Bruce Holsten

    This whole scenario is unfortunate and disturbing for all parties involved, from the good citizens of Carolina Beach to Rep. Hamilton’s constituents to Susi herself. We all assume responsible civic leadership will undertake the proper background checks, investigations and follow normal “open meeting” public procedures, as well as understanding the applicant’s own personal and professional commitments, BEFORE they are hired.

    In this case, the town council and mayor have clearly demonstrated that they did not follow normal procedures or legal guidelines in Rep. Hamilton’s selection, or in her final appointment, resulting in multiple versions of what is becoming an increasingly embarrassing story for all concerned.

    Most importantly, this whole issue demonstrates a clear lack of experience within the Carolina Beach Council and one can only hope that all parties are able to regain their professional status in the eyes of the public and can work together effectively, regardless of whether Rep. Hamilton is our Town manager or elected Representative.

  • Mac Montgomery

    NC GS 160 is hardly obscure to anyone familiar with municipal government. It is “the law” about how towns in NC operate.

  • RSimmons

    We just can’t catch a break in Wilmington! I was hoping we were rid of this “DINO”

  • Guest Timekeeper

    The fact that she is engaged in making laws for the citizens to follow and does not even know them herself, is quite interesting.

  • Theo

    She in no way thinks laws apply to her! She is not one of the littles like you and me.

  • Vog46

    In this case there was no harm just stupidity
    No one needs to lose their job on this.
    The headline reads Hamilton to stay in NC house.

    I wish she’d stay in her own……..


  • SurfCityTom

    someone is blowing smoke.

    She last stated a state ethics attorney gave her the go ahead.

    The state has a boatload of attorneys throughout every state agency. They average $90,000 per. That’s an average.

    Sorry, but in this case, if she told the truth, that attorney needs to seek other employment off the state dime.

    If she was not telling the truth, she needs to admit that.


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