North Topsail Beach holds special meeting amid political unrest


NORTH TOPSAIL BEACH, NC (WWAY) — After months of controversy over town government in North Topsail Beach, the Board of Aldermen held a special meeting Wednesday night.

Dozens filled the room, many voicing frustrations with the town’s government.

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“We want our government to be strong, but we would love to have to have a mayor,” said North Topsail Beach resident Mia Green.

Several people called for the current mayor to step down, and one person even asked the aldermen to donate their salary for the month of December since there was no meeting that month.

In November, Alderman Joann McDermon won the mayor’s race as a write-in candidate, beating Mayor Dan Tuman by 46 votes.

However, Tuman is protesting that election, calling it illegal, as he refuses to step down.

“The people spoke, the people voted, and I think the vote speaks for itself,” said Green.

Before the election, Town Manager Bryan Chadwick filed his resignation. He rescinded that resignation in December. Some believe it had to do with the election results.

“We all think that I guess the crisis of leadership caused different employees to say no way,” said Green.

The Board of Aldermen is now allowing Chadwick to remain Town Manager. Two aldermen also agreed to donate their December salaries to a charity of their choice.

Also back in November, Board of Aldermen member Tom Leonard was arrested and charged with DWI. He also had guns in the car, which he did have permits for.

Leonard says he does not condone drinking and driving, he is innocent until proven otherwise, and he will not resign from his position.

“I’m a CCW carrier, so I don’t think that you drink and carry guns, but at the same time, it’s not a felony, so it does not affect his position as far as being an alderman,” said North Topsail Beach homeowner Normal Lewis.

Leonard’s full statement can be found below:

“-I have been charged with a misdemeanor DWI. I regret any embarrassment this may
have caused the town or my family.
-I do not condone drinking and driving.
-I have pled not guilty, have retained counsel, and am contesting the charges.
-I am considered to be innocent until proven otherwise.
-I have informed the other members of the town’s elected body, the town manager, and
the town attorney of this matter. Each has assured me that this does not in any way
affect my qualifications to continue to serve the town in my current capacity, and I have
their support to continue to do so.
-This is a personal matter, and I desire that it remain so.”