The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Friday December 3rd

Carrboro Board of Aldermen should fill vacant seats

Currently Carrboro requires a special election if a seat on the Board of Aldermen is vacated with more than a year remaining in its term.

Carrboro should amend its town charter to allow the board to fill a vacancy for the appointment regardless of the time until the open seat’s election.

On March 19, Carrboro residents will have the opportunity to fill the vacancy in an election originally estimated to cost $18,000.

The town brought the costs down to approximately $12,000 by cancelling early voting — which makes the election inaccessible to many residents.

The amount is still far too expensive to fill the vacancy at this time, as funding was not allocated in the budget for a special election. Carrboro had to shift money and rely on a contingency fund to support this election.

This statute is costly and time consuming for the residents of Carrboro and the Board of Aldermen should adjust its procedure.

Until 2007, the board could fill the seat regardless of the time remaining in the term.

Mayor Mark Chilton said Carrboro is the only municipality in North Carolina that requires a special election for this sort of vacancy. Every other town has the ability to appoint a replacement to its council regardless of the time remaining in the term.

The original change to the procedure stemmed from the last time the board had a vacancy between elections, which occurred in 2006 when Dan Coleman was appointed. The board remained deadlocked for several days before agreeing on a candidate to appoint to the open seat.

Compromise prevailed during that appointment procedure and the board should be expected to do so again if a vacancy arises.

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