After concerns from the State Treasurer’s Office, Navassa Town Council meets to discuss a number of issues

After concerns from the State Treasurer’s Office, Navassa Town Council meets to discuss a number of issues
Published: Jun. 16, 2022 at 10:48 PM EDT
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NAVASSA, N.C. (WECT) - After weeks of trying to hold meetings to discuss important leadership issues in Navassa, the town council met on Thursday night and faced a crowd. They weren’t able to meet quorum in recent weeks until this meeting.

Earlier this month, the State Treasurer’s Office expressed concerns over the leadership in Navassa. The LGC, or the Local Government Commission, stepped in saying the town has “serious operational issues.” A representative virtually sat in on the meeting to observe and answer questions.

The town was required to appoint a finance officer, and they appointed James Hardy. Hardy is a council member and was the budget officer before being voted in.

Since there was no finance officer before Thursday night’s meeting, the town hasn’t been able to sign checks in weeks, meaning town hall employees weren’t able to be paid.

“You grind to a halt if you don’t have a finance officer,” said Town Attorney Norwood Blanchard. “Our finance officer Ms. Bray had resigned June 3, I believe. So during that time period, from June 3, until now, no town, bills have been paid, no invoices could be processed anything like that.”

Councilman Hardy added an item to the agenda to approve bonuses for town employees who weren’t able to be paid during this time.

It was approved, giving $1500 to full-time town employees, and $750 to part-time employees.

“We had not had a quorum for the last couple of meetings,” Blanchard said. “And a lot got done tonight. It’s kind of a backlog of things, but a lot of things did did get done.”

Council members approved a budget for the 2022-2023 fiscal year at the meeting. The budget was approved unanimously, which included adding 3 new police officers to the force.

They discussed adding new positions, including looking for a Town Administrator and hire a Town Planner who has been interviewed numerous times.

WECT asked all Navassa council members for comment, but none of them were willing to answer our questions.

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