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New Bern Aldermen Vote Down Discussing Mayor's Troubles

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The New Bern Board of Aldermen met for the first time Tuesday night since the troubles last week involving Mayor Lee Bettis and voted not to even discuss the mayor at this time.

Bettis was not at the meeting. He announced last week he would take a 2 month leave of absence after being charged with DWI and police were called to his house for a reported domestic situation all within 3 days.

Tuesday night, Alderman Dana Outlaw made a motion to discuss the mayor's situation, but it was voted down 4 to 2. The only other alderman who wanted to talk about what's going on was Victor Taylor.


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A spokeswoman for New Bern Mayor Lee Bettis says he is taking a two month leave of absence.

At a noon news conference outside his downtown office, the father of Bettis' wife says the mayor did not hurt his daughter.

Bettis was arrested Monday morning for driving while impaired in Havelock, while yesterday Carteret County deputies were called to the mayor's rental home for what was reported as a domestic altercation.

Deputies say Nicole Bettis reported an altercation with her husband at the home. Deputies say the mayor's wife reported she did not suffer any injuries and deputies did not see any visible signs of assault. They say she declined to prosecute her husband for assault.

Susan Namowicz, office manager for Bettis' law firm, read a prepared statement saying the mayor would take a two month leave of absence to help with his family.

Bettis, who is an attorney, was not at the news conference. The office manager says he was delayed by court.

At least one city alderman is asking that Bettis step down as mayor.


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New Bern's mayor has had another encounter with police, his second one so far this week.

Carteret County deputies say they responded to Lee Bettis' home outside of Beaufort at 2:10 a.m. for what was reported as a domestic altercation.

Deputies say Bettis' wife, Nicole, reported an altercation with her husband at the home. Deputies say the mayor's wife reported she did not suffer any injuries and deputies did not see any visible signs of assault. They say Nicole Bettis declined to prosecute her husband for assault.

"My husband just left, he just abused...he just pushed me down the stairs and choked me and took off," a woman on the 911 call told a dispatcher. "He's angry because he got pulled over the other morning driving my children to school and I didn't support him on that because I told him not to drive my children to school," she said.

The woman on the 911 call said her 15-year-old daughter, 9-year-old son and both her parents were there at the time. "And this is not the first incident of him being physically abusive," the woman told 911.

The mayor left the home prior to deputies arriving and the Sheriff's Office says no charges or arrests were made.

On Monday, Bettis was charged by Havelock police for DWI and other traffic offenses after being stopped on Highway 70 around 7:50 a.m.

In that case the mayor says he was not drinking and was tired from moving over the weekend.

In August 2010, the mayor was found not guilty of assaulting a woman at the YMCA pool after a trial.

Bettis was elected in 2009 and in February said he was not planning to seek a second term.


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New Bern's mayor says he had not been drinking this morning and that an over zealous police officer arrested him for DWI.

Lee Bettis was charged with driving while impaired, failure to maintain lane control and a designated lane violation.

Bettis, a New Bern attorney, was arrested at 7:49 a.m. on U.S. 70 by Havelock police.

Police say Havelock's 911 Center received two calls about a vehicle driving dangerously down Highway 101 and then on U.S. 70. "I mean, this guy almost hit about six people. He is everywhere," a woman following Bettis' van told 911. "There are kids in there? No way. Oh, man...there are kids in there," she told a dispatcher.

The van was stopped and police say they gave the mayor several field sobriety tests. Two children were in the van at the time.

Bettis says he was taking his wife's two children to school when he was pulled over by police. The mayor tells us he was extremely tired after moving into a new house this weekend and says he blew a 0.0 on a breathalyzer. "There is no alcohol in the system, there is no drugs in the system," said the mayor. "It's just we've been working long hard hours, this job, running a law firm, running a city...it's worn me out."

After failing a walking test, he says because he recently had his hip replaced, Bettis says the officer claimed he was acting funny and obtained a blood test, which will be analyzed in Raleigh.

He has a July 18th court date.

This is not the first time the New Bern lawyer has been on the other side of the law. In August 2010, the mayor was found not guilty of assaulting a woman at the YMCA pool after a trial.

Bettis was elected in 2009 and in February said he was not planning to seek a second term.


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