• City manager given power to kick mayor, council from city buildings

    By: Ken Lemon


    LOWELL, N.C. - Lowell City Council has approved a new “dos and don’ts” list for city officials. It gives the city manager power to kick the mayor and council members out of city buildings.
    “What they are doing is very childish,” said Lowell Mayor Larry Simonds. “It’s wrong.”
    Simonds has only been in office for two months. The council passed the new rules last week after news that Simonds went to city offices asking questions and pressing for documents about issues he said affects taxpayers.
    He said it was viewed as intrusive.
    “Something is bad wrong,” Simonds said.
    The council decided the mayor and council members must go through the manager to get information from city staff. If the manager decides they are disruptive, he can have them physically removed from the building.
    “If it ever comes to that, it will be the biggest fiasco in the world,” Simonds said.
    The city manager would not comment about new rules.
    One city councilman said the rules are not designed to weaken the powers of the mayor or the council. They are designed to help the staff.
    “I don’t consider it being personal on him,” councilman Sam Mitchem said. “It’s just something we needed to do.”
    Channel 9 asked Sam Mitchem if he thinks the mayor pressing city staff for answers has hurt the city's image.
    "Well, it doesn't help it,” Mitchem said.
    He said things were better before Simonds took office.
    “We never had any drama. Didn't have anything to make the city of Lowell be ashamed of,” Mitchem said.
    "I'm ashamed, too. I'm ashamed they don't know what democracy is,” Simonds said.

    The mayor said he will still press for answers, but he'll go through the manager.

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