Good afternoon all, please see the information below into continued claims and accusations that are just not true. We hate we have to take time to address these issues, but we feel they are important enough to take the time and provide accurate facts to the misleading allegations being shared.
In response to Bob Yanacsek’s post claiming that there is an ethical issue involving Mayor Holloway related to the sale of property years ago to someone involved with Eagle Engineering, the City’s response is simple: There is not. And suggesting there is shows a willful misunderstanding by the poster of the state law governing how a member of Council votes and a basic lack of understanding of the absence of a role for the Council in approving contracts under $100,000.
Mr. Yanacsek claims that a contract entered into on May 18, 2020 between the City and Eagle Engineering, at the request of the City’s Energy Services Department, raises a conflict of interest. It does not.
Here’s why: First, the contracts reported to Council that are under $100,000 in value are NOT approved by Council. The contract is reported to Council, but the contract HAS ALREADY BEEN ENTERED INTO BY THE CITY. The City Manager approved the contract. COUNCIL DID NOT VOTE TO APPROVE THIS CONTRACT. Again, to be clear, COUNCIL DID NOT VOTE TO APPROVE THIS CONTRACT. It is reported to Council, but the contract was already entered into. If Council were to vote on the contract, it would mean that the contract was not in effect until June 2, 2020. The contract was signed and fully effective on May 18, 2020.
In the minutes for June 2, 2020 City Council meeting, when the list of 24 contracts approved either by the Department Director or the City Manager appears, at the very end (see page 21 of the attached minutes) of the list it says, “This item was for informational purposes only; therefore, no action was required from Council.” AGAIN, COUNCIL DID NOT APPROVE THE EAGLE ENGINEERING CONTRACT OR ANY OF THE OTHER 23 CONTRACTS ON THAT LIST.
Second, even if then Mayor Pro Tem Holloway (now Mayor (since December 13, 2021, having been elected on November 2, 2021)) was to vote on any contract with Eagle Engineering, HE IS REQUIRED TO DO SO. The only ways he cannot under North Carolina General Statutes Section 160A-75 (the text of the statute is below) is if he is voting related to consideration of his own financial interest or his official conduct (the prohibitions related to NCGS 14-234 or NCGS 160D-109 do not apply here). In the case of the contract with Eagle Engineering, Mayor Holloway’s official conduct is not involved, and there is no consideration of his own financial interest (the contract does not have any sort of compensation going to Mayor Holloway and that is what the statute contemplates). Again, there is no conflict here requiring Mayor Holloway to ask the City Council to excuse him from any sort of vote. Again, Council did not vote on this item, so even if it were required to, Mayor Holloway would have been required to vote since state law would not have supported any sort of excusing from voting.
The original poster talks about ethics. The poster fails to note that each and every member of Council is expected to comply with Council’s Code of Ethics (which is attached). In fact, the Council’s Code of Ethics says this, “To declare that a Council Member is behaving unethically because one disagrees with that Council Member on a question of policy (and not because of the Council Member’s behavior) is unfair, dishonest, irresponsible, and itself unethical.” It is appropriate to question the ethics of the poster, who has chosen to play fast and loose with the truth.
§ 160A-75. Voting.
(a) No member shall be excused from voting except upon matters involving the consideration of the member's own financial interest or official conduct or on matters on which the member is prohibited from voting under G.S. 14-234 or G.S. 160D-109. In all other cases except votes taken under G.S. 160D-601, a failure to vote by a member who is physically present in the council chamber, or who has withdrawn without being excused by a majority vote of the remaining members present, shall be recorded as an affirmative vote. The question of the compensation and allowances of members of the council is not a matter involving a member's own financial interest or official conduct.
(b) Notwithstanding subsection (a) of this section, a vote or failure to vote by any member present by means of simultaneous communication in accordance with G.S. 166A-19.24 shall be treated as if the member were physically present only during the period while simultaneous communication is maintained for that member.
(c) An affirmative vote equal to a majority of all the members of the council not excused from voting on the question in issue, including the mayor's vote in case of an equal division, shall be required to adopt an ordinance, take any action having the effect of an ordinance, authorize or commit the expenditure of public funds, or make, ratify, or authorize any contract on behalf of the city. In addition, no ordinance nor any action having the effect of any ordinance, except an ordinance on which a public hearing must be held pursuant to G.S. 160D-601 before the ordinance may be adopted, may be finally adopted on the date on which it is introduced except by an affirmative vote equal to or greater than two thirds of all the actual membership of the council, excluding vacant seats and not including the mayor unless the mayor has the right to vote on all questions before the council. For purposes of this section, an ordinance shall be deemed to have been introduced on the date the subject matter is first voted on by the council. (1917, c. 136, subch. 13, s. 1; C.S., s. 2821; 1971, c. 698, s. 1; 1973, c. 426, s. 16; 1979, 2nd Sess., c. 1247, s. 7; 1983, c. 696; 2001-409, s. 9; 2005-426, s. 5.1(a); 2013-126, s. 11; 2015-160, s. 5; 2019-111, s. 2.5(n); 2020-3, ss. 4.31(h), 4.33(a); 2020-25, s. 51(a), (b), (d).)
We do not plan to further debate or discuss this issue, only provide clear and factual information to the public.
Link to Contracts
Link to Council Minutes
Link to Code of Ethics