Rocky Mount mayor says councilors involved in audit refuse to attend emergency meeting

Local News

ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. (WNCN) – Rocky Mount’s mayor has called for a special city council meeting on Thursday to discuss the state audit that claims financial mismanagement by city officials.

Mayor Sandy Roberson said the special meeting is 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.”

Previous: Rocky Mount mayor calls for councilor to resign in wake of scathing audit

The audit was generated by the Office of State Auditor Beth Wood after a year’s investigation into more than 200 complaints.

Read the full audit

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 today 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

All four have declined to attend the 2 p.m. meeting without reason, Roberson said.

“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.”

A spokesperson for Roberson said Monday that Miller, after the news release, “did decide to attend.”

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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