Marley Sworn In as Robbins Commissioner
Robbins has a new town commissioner.
At December's regular session of the board, Mayor Mickey Brown administered the oath of office to local attorney Frank Marley. He replaces Buddy Robinson, who resigned. He is also an employee of the town.
Marley got the most votes in last year's election after Lynn Loy, among the candidates who did not win seats. When Mary Wood resigned last summer, commissioners named Loy as her replacement.
"He (Marley) got the next most votes," said Commissioner Theron Bell, who made the motion to nominate him. The board voted unanimously to appoint Marley.
Marley's law practice is based in Robbins. His upstairs office overlooks the middle of town, the railroad and the old Elise Depot. Marley is from Robbins. His mother came to see him sworn in.
Robinson resigned from the board reluctantly. He said his service as a commissioner -- particularly during the time of so much change -- meant much to him. He had enthusiastically supported the charter change that ultimately resulted in his own departure as a commissioner.
That change, which went into effect this fall, altered the legal character of the municipality from the mayor/council form Robbins had used since incorporating as Hemp. Under that structure, town commissioners -- acting through various committees -- supervise and deal with all the many details of municipal life.
Everything from potholes to light poles, from police to pavement, was the job of one of the commissioners.
Once the town's search results in hiring a manager -- either an interim or a permanent one, all supervisory powers formerly held by mayor or board members go away.
Under state law, town managers have certain authority that does not depend on, and may not be changed by, mayors or councils. With rare exceptions, the only town employee not hired or fired by the manager is the town attorney -- in this case, Douglas R. Gill of Southern Pines. He and the manager are the only two employees the Town Board will have.
Everybody else works for the manager.
That was Robinson's problem. The manager works for the board, but he would be working for the manager. As a town employee himself, Robinson would find himself in an impossible position: having to supervise (as a commissioner) the person who would be his own supervisor (the town manager).
Initially, Robinson had decided to quit his job so he could stay in the chair to which the citizens of Robbins had placed him. He wanted to remain involved and help see his home town through the sea changes facing it: NC STEP, the charter change, new industries such as American Growler and SITUS.
In the meantime, until an interim manager would be on the job, he hoped to keep both his position and his paycheck. It was not to be. Leaving the job would mean leaving behind medical benefits provided town employees.
He decided he would stay on the rolls of town workers, and let somebody else take his seat on the board.
Robinson will, however, be able to remain a voice in STEP. Team support for that three-year demonstration and test of economic improvement strategies means a welcome is being extended by the STEP Core Committee to everybody in and around Robbins and to helpful people from all over Moore County as well.
John Chappell can be reached at 783-5841 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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