ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. (WNCN) – Rocky Mount’s mayor has delayed an emergency city council meeting just hours before it was scheduled to take place.
Mayor Sandy Roberson has delayed Thursday’s 2 p.m. meeting until May 26 at 2 p.m.
“I ran for mayor to unify this City,” said Roberson. “We should be focused on the findings in the N.C. State Auditor’s hard-hitting report, not arguing about when we talk about it. The full council must publicly discuss it and determine together how we are going to regain the trust of our community. I expect all of the City Council members to attend this new time.”
The mayor said he called for the special meeting in an effort to “regain the trust of Rocky Mount’s citizens in their city government” after the audit claimed tens of thousands of dollars were mishandled and some leaders in the city “used their positions for personal gain.”
The audit was generated by the Office of State Auditor Beth Wood after a year’s investigation into more than 200 complaints.
The audit did not reveal the identity of the city employees and last week, Roberson called for the resignation of the councilor who the audit said had $47,000 in unpaid utility bills written off due to political pressure.
In a release Tuesday night, Roberson said four members of the city council were notified of the “emergency meeting by service from a Rocky Mount police officer.”
Roberson identified the four as:
- Councilman Andre Knight
- Councilman T.J. Walker
- Councilman Richard Joyner
- Councilwoman Chris Miller
Initially, all four declined to attend the original 2 p.m. meeting without reason, Roberson said.
A spokesperson for Roberson said Monday that Miller, after the news release, “did decide to attend.”
“We are at a crossroads for this City,” said Roberson. “I find it hard to believe that these four Council members are not willing to take an hour to discuss steps on how we, as a Council, are going to better serve our community. I ask that people who live in each of these wards urge them to attend and do the job they were elected to do.”
The audit also said the city lost more than $32,000 from downtown development program loans that went uncollected.
It also said the city suffered a loss of $28,000 in improperly awarded funds.
The auditor said the city offed no explanation to her staffers as to why that happened.
Rocky Mount must also pay back $31,000 for allowing a development bond to expire, said the report.
The audit said the city manager should reimburse Rocky Mount for $1,600 in improper per diem payments for steak and lobster meals.
Last week, Roberson told CBS 17 he has also reached out to the local district attorney, the State Bureau of Investigation and the Attorney General’s office asking those agencies to look into the allegations made in the report but he’s unsure if any of it rises to the level of criminal behavior.
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