A Greenville City Councilman is voicing concern about an "erosion of confidence" in city government today, after the City Council passed an ordinance that faced significant public opposition.
Calvin Mercer was one of two council members who voted against the proposed change to the "three-unrelated" rule Thursday night. The policy now allows four people who are not related to live in the same house in an area of Greenville near East Carolina University. The motion passed by four votes to two.
In an email to the media and constituents overnight, Mercer says just as concerning as the vote to pass the four-unrelated rule is the "effect it has on our citizenry, and on the democratic impulse that is the heartbeat of our way of governing."
In his message, Mercer included this excerpt from an email that one Greenville citizen sent earlier this week: "While I am not a resident of the neighborhood in question, I am concerned about an accompanying issue that affects all of us who call Greenville home. That issue is one of trust between the City Council and the city residents. If you vote to overturn the "three unrelated" rule then it will become even more clear that the Mayor and Council majority cannot be trusted to listen to the voices of citizens, neighborhood leaders and other city boards or to operate in the open when personal agendas are involved. When elected leadership cannot be trusted to execute the responsibilities of their office with openness, honesty and integrity, ill will is generated and spread throughout the community."
Mercer continued his email saying he worried that the new policy could be extended other districts of Greenville as well.