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New carpet costs Calabash mayor official powers


CALABASH, NC (WWAY) -- A Brunswick County mayor no longer has any official powers. Last night members of the Calabash Town Commission voted to strip the mayor of her duties for what they say is a spending ordinance violation. She says she did nothing wrong.

"I make a motion that this board deem to remove the powers of Mayor Knight to just officiate meetings and public events," Commissioner Joseph Nance said during last night's Calabash Commission meeting.

Nance says Mayor Mary Knight purchased $1,152 worth of carpet for her office without pre-authorized purchase orders or bids. He says that's a violation of the town's purchasing ordinances.

"What we're trying to get across is come to the board. The board runs the town, not just the mayor," Nance said.

But Mayor Knight said the existing carpet was moldy and had to be replaced for health reasons. She told the commission she had approval from the town administrator.

"Administrator (Chuck) Nance said, 'Yes, there's $6,000 in the building fund. Here's the credit card.' And out the door I went," Knight said at the meeting.

Commissioner Nance says the motion was about more than just new carpet. It's about a pattern of overspending and overstepping the board's authority.

"It's business," Nance said. "It's town business, and it's the taxpayers' money."

Commissioner Nance says it is his duty to the taxpayers to control spending and the motion was not personal.

Mayor Pro Tem Emily DiStasio will handle the mayor's official duties.

We tried to talk with Mayor Knight about what happened. She has not returned our calls.

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