The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

December 12, 2012

Council eyes workshop on differences

By Brian Graves, Staff Writer

Wednesday, December 12, 2012 — Richfield City Council met Monday night with a full house at City Hall, but if they were there to see fireworks, they were disappointed.

During a meeting which lasted only 20 minutes, the council had no important business to conduct except for a report from Street and Utilities Commissioner Barry Byrd about problems with some check valves in the sewer system.

The major conversation was about the council itself and left the impression there may be room for some sort of better working relationships between the council and Mayor Jim Misenheimer.

The mayor opened the meeting asking for old business, but there was none.

However, Misenheimer noted that city attorney Charles Brown was in attendance to help advice the board on how to better organize the meeting agendas in the future.

“One of the things he mentioned to me is we need to get our information in and get a written agenda approved prior to our meetings,” Misenheimer said.

Brown addressed the council with some comments about inquiries that had been made to him by the mayor and council members.

“I have some things the board might consider with regards to the handling of business with regards to some issues that have been of interest in recent months to the board and to the citizens,” Brown said.

He said he was going to identify a few of the items, but delay any recommendations until January to allow him more time to review the relevant state statutes concerning those matters.

On the matter of preparing and adopting an agenda, Brown said the entire board has input to preparing that document.

“If each of you have the input in preparing the agenda, you know what is going to come up in a meeting. You know how to prepare for a meeting. You address issues rather than something that perhaps comes as a surprise to you,” Brown said.

He said he would also make recommendations with how to handle streets, roads and right-of-way issues and how they may affect property owners and the matters of town finances.

“The focus as I see it is to serve the citizens of Richfield in accordance with applicable laws,” Brown said.

“You’re polar star is to do what is best for this community. You want to look after the citizens. You want to take care of businesses, have business retention, as well as attracting new business in the community and create a climate that is consistant with that.

“I will do my best to bring you recommendations that will do that.”

Misenheimer said he liked the idea of having a workshop with Brown.

“From what I’ve heard from local people, all of us care about Richfield,” Misenheimer said.

“I’m speaking for myself. I’m a stubborn person. I read the article Mr. Graves printed (‘These are the Days of Richfield,’ SNAP, Sunday, Dec. 2) and he said somethings I needed to hear and I heard them,” the mayor said.

He said in his discussions with Brown, he heard some of the same things.

“Both of you told us what we needed to hear,” said Misenhiemer. “(Town Clerk Carolyn) Capps has echoed the same thing, but in a nicer way. All three of you have given the town some good advice and we can either follow it or not follow it. Maybe tonight, we can walk out of here prepared for Christmas and you can report, ‘It was a boring meeting in Richfield. Praise the Lord!’”

Brown said he thought a workshop could be helpful and was willing to help the council in such a setting.

Byrd said the time was to let everything set until January “and get a good clean start.”

Also discussed was the need to find a replacement for former councilman Steve Morgan who resigned last month.

According to charter, the council has three months to make the choice.

The mayor said Town Clerk Carolyn Capps had recommended the council submit names and rank them before the next meeting.

Council members agreed on one the idea and plan to make that decision as early as the January meeting.