FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 05/28/2020
Village Charter Change FAQ
Q: What exactly are the changes that are being made to the Village Charter?
A: There are two changes being proposed to the Charter:
1) Form of Government: Changing from Council-Mayor form of Government to a Council-Manager form of Government (see second page for more detail on this).
2) Mayoral Vote: Changing to allow the Mayor to vote on only matters that involve a tie-vote to allowing the Mayor to vote on ALL items.
The Village of Marvin has and will continue to operate with non-partisan elections. No changes being proposed would impact decisions on a partisan basis.
Q: How long have these changes been discussed? Was this a rushed decision?
A: The Village Council that was elected into office in November of 2019 began publicly discussing this item in early February. In order to maintain transparency, Council assured charter changes being proposed were clearly stated in all public meeting notices. Timeline of decision as follows:
February 7, 2020: Discussion of concept of changes during retreat idea.
February 27, 2020: Discussion of both changes openly discussed and advertised as a meeting topic.
March 10, 2020: Resolution of Intent to Change Charter; no public comments.
April 7, 2020 Public Hearing to consider comments for or against proposed changes; no public comments.
May 12, 2020: Adoption of the Ordinances to Amend Charter.
Q: How common is the proposed form of government in North Carolina? Will it be unusual to change?
A: Over 88% of municipalities in NC with a population size of 5,000-10,000 comparable to the Village of Marvin (population 7,000) have a Manager-Council form.  No, it would be unusual NOT to change; Marvin is one of only seven municipalities within this population range that still have the Mayor-Council form of government. As populations/services grow, its common to see a change in governmental form to better adapt to needs.
 Source: Nelson, Kimberly. 2020. “NC Cities 500 to 10K.” NCLM. www.nclm.org
Q: Has the Charter been changed before without a referendum?
A: Yes, it was changed in August of 2016 and April 2017 to allow the Mayor to be elected by the people and to reduce his/her term from 4 years to 2 years without a referendum.
Q: Are Charter changes permanent?
A: No. Charter changes are common in government; it’s not uncommon to see changes as elected bodies and organizational needs change. Charters can be re-amended if they do not work out as intended within two years after the beginning of the term of the office of the officers elected.
Q: What are benefits for a Manager-Council Form of Government over a Mayor-Council Form of Government?
A: There are pros and cons for both forms and it really depends on the need of the community and organization itself. The biggest factor to consider is how elections impact municipal administration in order for residents to assure continuity of operations and projects. According to the North Carolina League of Municipalities and the UNC School of Government (both professional governmental organizations), the following bullet points are general considerations for both:
Mayor-Council form (the Village’s current form)
- Generally, these forms of government are for smaller organizations where the Mayor is typically used to carry out day to day tasks because there are very few services, staff, or citizens. All staff in this form work directly for the board (not the person that is monitoring their day to day activities). These employees can be subject to small town politics because of the lack of separation between their direct reports and the political environment; this environment can create angst, instability, and high turnover during election years and an atmosphere for unclear direction and oversight at times.
Manager-Council Form of Government (proposed form)
- A professional/educated manager, removed from politics, often with a higher degree and more relevant experience compared to Mayor is selected by the elected body and responsible for daily operations including oversight of all employees who he/she is directly monitoring daily. This clear supervision allows more neutrality, clear direction, and effectiveness in operations. This form is extremely common in municipalities over 5,000 in population as it offers more stability, professionalism, and consistency. The Manager is usually a member of a highly ethical association such as the International City/Council Managers Association and are bound and monitored by a strict code of ethics.
Q: Would oversight and transparency be reduced with the proposed changes including the Mayoral vote?
A: There are no changes that would elude transparency of the public. Personnel decisions would be a change that would not be under direct authority of the board; however, personnel decisions are still subject to public inspection shall anyone desire to question any decisions. Citizens would simply complete a public records request and any public information will be handed over. All meetings and deliberations about policy will be conducted in open public meetings as they are now.
The Council sees the change in allowing the Mayoral vote a way to streamline decisions and to promote greater transparency. The opinions and stance of issues of the Mayor would be clearly transparent and instead of promoting a system that would attempt decisions outside of public meetings; this Council believes this is better for constituents and should promote greater accountability amongst those in office and if it does not work as intended, it can be changed back in 2 years.