Written by: Elizabeth Blevins
Earlier today, an aid for John Szoka sent invitations to Town Hall, inviting the elected to a meet & greet for the Representative. Mitchell reacted very strongly to the invitations, sending a message indicating he found the idea ‘inappropriate’.
North Carolina General Statute 160A-169 clearly states employees shall not be restricted from attending political meetings or supporting partisan candidates of their choice.
I haven’t been able to clarify if Mitchell’s email was directed to staff members as well as Board members. But it was sent to Town Manager Melissa Adams, and 13 other recipients. The remaining Board members would represent five of those recipients. If the staff were included, then Mitchell violated the General Statute. It’s unclear if the statute protects our elected from the same form of coercion.
Commissioner Mitchell met with Governor Roy Cooper on Thursday. Shouldn’t the remaining Board members be free to attend any event they choose to…John Szoka represents District 45, which is the majority of Hope Mills. It makes sense that our elected would attend his meet & greet to hear his views on issues relevant to all of Hope Mills.
Edit: This afternoon I received the full email with the list of addresses. In addition to the full Board, Commissioner Mitchell sent the email to three town employees, dissuading them from attending an event for Representative John Szoka. In doing so, it appears as though Mitchell violated North Carolina General Statute § 160A-169.
Have concerns about these issues? Contact the Board and let them know!