Morgan, Rowell relent on new form of government

Apr. 12, 2014 @ 04:44 PM

According to a letter signed by Marshville’s Mayor Pro Tem Virginia Morgan and Council Member Jim Rowell, the intent to change the town’s form of government has been withdrawn.

For much of this year and around the end of 2013, the topic of possibly changing Marshville’s form of government from a council-manager form to a mayor-council form has been continually discussed.

In February, council members voted three to two with Morgan, Rowell and Council Member Norma Carpenter voting in favor of adopting a resolution of intent to change the town’s form of government.

“The whole process was to find out what the differences are and which we thought were the best for the town. Once we went through that, we had public input and a lot of research and review about the differences and all that stuff and so it was just that we determined that it’s not the time to change and it’s not a good thing to change right now so that’s why we withdrew our request,” Rowell said.

He added that in order to have the discussion, they had to start the process.

“Just because you announce your intent doesn’t mean that that’s what you’re going to do,” he said.

They (himself and the other council members who supported it) originally did it for research purposes and have now come to the decision that the form of government the town currently has is fine, he said.

“It just didn’t make sense to keep on doing it and keep on going when we all agreed that what we got is probably the best,” he said.

A discussion and possible action about an ordinance to amend the town’s charter was scheduled for the council’s April 7 meeting. That meeting was canceled as a result of a quorum not likely to have been present as a result of some council members’ scheduling conflicts. Mayor Frank Deese later called special meetings for April 9 and April 10 to discuss amending the town’s charter and other topics though both meeting were also cancelled.

A quorum was not expected to be present at the special meetings, which is why they were later cancelled, Deese said.

When asked April 10 about the withdrawing of the intent to change the town’s charter, Deese said he had heard rumors about it but had not seen it in writing or had spoken to any of the council members who had voted in favor of it to know if it was official.

Fern Shubert, Marshville’s interim town manager, said she received the letter about the intent to change the form of government being withdrawn the afternoon of April 9.

The letter states:

“The Marshville Town Council voted to start the process to change the form of governance from the council/manager form to mayor/council form. The process involves motions of intent, public hearings and then a vote to change the form of governance or not. During this process much research, review and public input has been received. We voted to begin this process to allow for a review process and to cause everyone, citizens and council members, to understand both forms of governance and their differences. After much research, review and public input, we the undersigned believe that the Town of Marshville should remain under the council/manager form of governance. This form of government allows the hiring of a professional town manager that runs the day-to-day operation of the town. The town council has the responsibility to make policy and ordinances, which direct the town manager. It is the council’s responsibility to ensure that the manager operates in accordance with their guidance and polices, which in turn allow the town citizens, to have meaningful input in all aspects of their government. We believe this process has helped all involved to better understand their government and allowed for much discussion on both sides of the question. As such we wish to formally withdraw the intent to change the form of governance for the Town of Marshville and continue with the council/manager form.”

The letter is signed by both Morgan and Rowell and dated April 9. A space on the letter for Carpenter to sign is left blank.

She had back surgery Monday and has been recovering all week and had nothing to do with the letter, Carpenter said April 10.

Attempts to contact other Marshville council members were not successful as of press time.

The next meeting of the Marshville town council is scheduled for May 5 at 7 p.m. at Marshville town hall according to a Town of Marshville statement.