The state should not interfere with local governments, Gov. Pat McCrory said Tuesday.
He made that comment when News & Record Editorial Editor Allen Johnson asked him for his opinion of state Sen. Trudy Wade’s bill that would make significant changes to the Greensboro City Council.
By unanimous vote, City Council opposes N.C. Senate Bill 36 but seeks a referendum on longer terms.
“Let me put it this way: As governor I constantly have to fight Washington not to interfere. I think the same philosophy applies to Raleigh interfering with local governments,” McCrory said.
“I believed that as a mayor, and I believe that as governor.”
Thursday night, the League of Women Voters of the Piedmont Triad hosted a forum to discuss Sen. Trudy Wade’s bill to shrink the City Council and eliminate at-large members, among a host of changes suggested.
McCrory, a Republican and a former mayor of Charlotte, did not make any direct comments about Wade’s legislation and said he has not read it.
McCrory’s opinion has no practical effect on the bill’s fate. Wade’s legislation is a “local bill,” which means it does not require the governor’s signature to become law. He would not be able to veto it.
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Wade (R-Guilford) did not return a call for comment Tuesday.
The bill will be considered by the N.C. Senate’s redistricting committee at 10 a.m. Thursday, according to the committee’s chairman, state Sen. Bob Rucho.
Wade’s bill, filed in February, would change the size of the city council, reduce its number of at-large members, create seven new districts and extend council terms from two years to four. Wade also said she plans to submit a new version of the bill that would make the mayor a nonvoting member of the council.
Local residents — including City Council members — have balked at the idea that state leaders might change the council’s makeup. Some opponents have argued that the action does not adhere to the conservative Republican ideals of limited government.
McCrory has previously urged legislators to stay out of local issues, including during a fight over control of the Charlotte Douglas International Airport.
Rucho (R-Mecklenburg) filed legislation in 2013 that created an independent authority to run the airport, which long had been operated by the city of Charlotte.
McCrory kept out of the debate while the bill tracked through and eventually was approved by the legislature. But afterward he argued that the city should control its airport.