SANDY ROBERSON SWORN IN AS MAYOR OF ROCKY MOUNT
December 10, 2019
Last night, Mayor-elect Sandy Roberson was sworn-in to the office by the Honorable Quentin T. Sumner and was presented with the Plaque and Gavel by Outgoing Mayor, David Combs. Ward 4 Councilman-elect T.J. Walker Jr. and Ward 5 Councilman-elect Lige Daughtridge were also administered the oaths of office not long after the start of the council meeting. Re-elected Ward 1 Councilman Andre Knight and re-elected Ward 3 Councilman Richard Joyner also were sworn in.
Roberson succeeded David Combs as Mayor, while Walker succeeded Lois Watkins in Ward 4 and Daughtridge succeeded Tom Rogers in Ward 5. All three departing officials had been at the municipal government table together since 2007 and opted not to seek re-election this year. Prior to first being elected mayor in 2007, Combs had served on the council since 2003.
There were resolutions of appreciation presented to all three departing officials, following closing words from each of them. David Combs expressed his appreciation to Rocky Mount for electing him as Mayor for three terms. Lois Watkins followed with gratitude toward the council’s ability to come together despite disagreement and present a united front to the citizens of Rocky Mount. Tom Rogers closed by encouraging the new guard to not allow the “hyper partisanship” engulfing the nation’s discourse affect Rocky Mount politically.“We must build real relationships with people that we don’t know,” Rogers said. “And we must also always remember that civility usually allows more listening and understanding than sharp rhetoric or shrill comments.”
The second council meeting of December was voted to be cancelled and the new administration will meet as a council again in January.
MAYOR-ELECT AND TRANSITION TEAM VISIT MOBILE, ALABAMA
December 4, 2019
Earlier this week, Mayor-Elect Sandy Roberson and his Transition Team visited Alabama to meet with Mayor Sandy Stimpson and the City of Mobile. Mayor-Elect Sandy Roberson heard about Mobile’s work to combat blight and brought his incoming administration to Mobile to learn more from their experience. The City of Mobile was granted the Bloomberg Philanthropies Innovation Team Grant in 2014 and has made tremendous headway since then. Mayor Stimpson and his "i-team" spent the afternoon sharing their processes of this data-driven initiative to help identify and address barriers in Mobile and create a more united city. Rocky Mount and Mobile seem to face similar challenges and the Transition Team headed back to Rocky Mount feeling inspired by the way Mobile has come together for positive and responsible change in their city.
NEWS & UPDATES
Mayor Roberson Announces His Transition Team
January 13, 2020
This week, Mayor Roberson’s Transition Team met to begin the ongoing collaborative discussion about the challenges and opportunities for Rocky Mount. This group of trusted individuals was brought together by Mayor Roberson and his Transition Director, Kevin Jones. The purpose of this team is to bring a group of leaders and key players from all communities within Rocky Mount to not only discuss the significant issues in our city but to come up with bold ideas as to how we can address those issues.
“I know enough to know that there are issues I need to seek a better upstanding of,” admitted Mayor Roberson. “I asked Mr. Jones to help me bring a group around the table to provide insight into issues that are not always visible to me. Each perspective is unique and equally important,” stated Roberson.
The process of getting this team together involved reaching across political, county, racial, and all other dividing lines to make sure that every voice in the city has the opportunity to be heard. Meant to be a holistic representation of the citizens of Rocky Mount, the group is composed of law enforcement, faith leaders, leaders of local and national non-profits, members of the business community, K-12 administrators, teachers, and parents. The group will also be working closely with Nash and Edgecombe Community Colleges. “Ultimately, we want to make sure that the decisions of our Mayor and our Council are informed through as many channels as possible,” Jones said.
The team includes the following members: Dr. Kendrick Alston, Lisa Bulluck, Michael Deloach, Leon Dupree, Bill Farmer, Mark Frohman, Michael Girouard, Gen. Arnold Gordon-Bray, Pam Gould, Robert Hart, Taukarri Hilton, Brian Hopkins, Demeka Johnson, Jesse Lewis, Ricky Parks, Tarrick Pittman, Kirby Slade, Jassmin Smith, Keisha Spivey, Kenny Sumner, Brittney Sutton, Christy Taylor, Tina Taylor, Roderick Tillery, Jeff Tobias, Victor Ward, Wendy Wilson.
“It was important that this group collectively be able to not only empathize with but relate to our entire city,” Jones said when asked about the group’s make-up.
The Mayor's Transition Team will focus mainly on two areas as we move into 2020. The first area of focus is on schools and jobs. During the first meeting, the Transition Team began to explore the challenges Rocky Mount faces from both an academic perspective and an economic perspective. Much of the discussion was about the root causes of these challenges and where they intersect.
Another focus area for the team is safety in our neighborhoods. Initial discussions included street violence, drug abuse, human trafficking, re-entry, and wrap-around support of our youth. Beyond short-term approaches, the team also discussed long-term methods that can be used to build community support and collaboration among law enforcement, non-profits, religious organizations, schools, businesses, and all other community stakeholders.
This group is just the beginning of what Mayor Roberson hopes will be an inclusive conversation about how to strengthen the city using the resources of Rocky Mount’s knowledgeable and dedicated citizens. This team will serve as the eyes and ears of the community. After identifying the issues, the group hopes to work together on ideas and potential solutions to fit the context of Rocky Mount. These ideas are meant to aim for action, but require the involvement of the community to carry out an initiative aimed at making Rocky Mount an even better, safer place to live.
“Our goal in publishing the names of our Transition Team members is to open up the conversation to the public,” said Mayor Roberson. “Reach out to these individuals with concerns or questions about what is going on in the community,” encouraged the Mayor.
TRANSITION TEAM IS MAKING PROGRESS
November 20, 2019
Again, I want to take this opportunity to say Thank You to the voters of Rocky Mount who supported my campaign. I also want to extend an olive branch to those voters who did not support me.
The election is over and now it is time for our city to come together – unified in an effort to lift up our city.
During the past two weeks, I have met with the City Manager, I have attended the committee work meeting and the regular session of City Council.
I am working through the financials and have received the latest independent, third party audit report of the city’s budget.
Kevin Jones and I have been working on the top two major citizen-led working groups that I will be appointing in December -- The Schools & Jobs Task Force and the Safe Neighborhoods Advisory Committee.
We will be making those appointments during our first session and putting these citizen-led committees to work – providing valuable input and insight into the major issues facing our city.
Finally, I have been holding a number of meetings with county commissioners, administrators and our DOT Commissioner to get a working relationship and understanding of the many issues ongoing at City Hall.
No doubt, it is a busy time right now. I wanted you to have the inside information on what we’re doing and how we are progressing. If I can be of assistance to you, please message me.
Mayor-Elect of Rocky Mount
NORTH CAROLINA MAYOR-ELECT WANTS TELEVISED COUNCIL MEETINGS
November 14, 2019
The incoming mayor of a North Carolina city is pushing the idea of televised city council meetings.
The Rocky Mount Telegram reports Mayor-elect Sandy Roberson is also looking into televising meetings of the city’s boards and commissions. Roberson bases his idea on the fact that there are people who keep track of city government but can’t attend the
A local television station broadcasts delayed video of council meetings and a local resident uses a cellphone while seated in the audience to show the meetings in real time on her Facebook page.
Ward 5 Councilman-elect Lige Daughtridge says he believes that complete transparency is vital to ensure the public trust and that local residents and the news media have access to all public information.