Navassa still without finance officer; No resolution in Monday’s meeting

NC State Treasurer Dale Folwell sits down with WWAY

NAVASSA, NC (WWAY) – The Town of Navassa is still without a finance officer, after Claudia Bray resigned Friday.

The council made attempts to hold meetings to address concerns brought by the North Carolina State Treasurer Dale Folwell, who WWAY sat down with.

The Navassa council hasn’t had enough members to have a quorum, until Monday night.

“It’s really unconscionable, especially for the low, and fixed income of people of this community for this to be going on,” said Folwell.

In a regular meeting held Monday, there was no resolution related to the absence of a finance officer- some items were kept and some were removed from the upcoming June 16 planned meeting.

“The elected people who put their hand on the bible and raised their right hand to uphold the rules and laws of this state to the community, and they have the responsibility of doing so,” he said.

WWAY stopped by Town Hall to speak with Mayor Eulis Willis – a paper taped to the inside of the door read – “Town Hall is temporarily closed”.

When we spoke to Willis on Friday, he declined to comment,  we also reached out to Mayor Pro Tem Jerry Merrick, but didn’t hear back at the time of publication.

Navassa Town Attorney Norwood Blanchard said the council needs to come together to come up with a solution – as did Folwell.

“If it’s not remedied fairly quickly the LGC (Local Government Commission) I expect would step in” he said.

Intervention from the LGC is something that rarely happens, according to Blanchard.

“There are some other mandatory deadlines coming up soon, you know the new fiscal year starts July first, and you have to have a budget in place for that,” Blanchard said.  “Those are the problems the town is facing right now.”

Folwell hopes the council will work as a unit to get things done, even if it means asking for outside help.

“I’m sure there I somebody around the county, and around the state who would probably be willing to partner with them,” he said. “But figuring out what’s right, getting it right, and keeping it right is not just in the mind, it’s also in the heart, and these local officials need to take care of business.”

WWAY also spoke with Navassa residents, who didn’t want to go on camera, but said the council needs to come together in the best interest of the town.

“All we’re looking for from this community is transparency, competency, and governance,” said Folwell. “This is a situation that’s been obviously going on for a long time, local citizens have to hold these public officials accountable.”

According to Councilwoman Ida Dixon – as of Friday, payroll has been taken care of until their (the town’s) next pay period.

According to Folwell, there is no one certified to write checks on behalf of the town, anyone who signs a check off the town’s bank account would be in violation of the law.

“We are overwhelmed at the Local Government Commission because of issues going on with local governments,” he said. “So for us to take them over, assign finance officer, present a budget and hand it back to them five days later, to me, is us being an enabler.

“We have local elected officials that are supposed to be doing these functions.”

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