Kinston Voters To Decide On Mayoral Veto Power

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Voters will decide a hot issue in Kinston Tuesday - whether to give the mayor veto authority over city council.

The question of a mayoral veto is on the ballot in Kinston and there's strong opinions on both sides.

As it stands right now, Kinston's five city council members have the power to enact ordinances and hire and fire workers, including three key employees - the city manager, attorney and clerk. Mayor BJ Murphy says he, and future mayors, should have the ability to veto council's decisions. Councilwoman Alice Tingle, who's not running for r-election, says the mayor has enough power already.

If the referendum does pass , Murphy says council members could override a veto with a fourth-fifths majority vote.

Republican State Representative Stephen LaRoque sponsored the the mayoral veto bill, which legislators later voted to add to Kinston's ballot.

Murphy says he contacted legislators about the bill in the spring, after council members voted in favor of forced annexation, which he says he's against.

Only two other cities in the state, Charlotte and Topsail Beach, have mayoral veto power.