Triangle Politics A weekly look at the local political scene

Orange Co. commissioner calls on Chapel Hill board chair to resign

January 11, 2013 

Orange County Commissioner Penny Rich has called for the resignation of the head of Chapel Hill’s planning board.

Rich, a former Town Council member, said Del Snow’s comments at a Dec. 11 Board of Commissioners meeting, coupled with her part in a suit against the town, affect her ability to serve the town.

Snow identified herself twice as the planning board chairwoman during the public hearing and asked commissioners to delay a half-cent sales tax for transit improvements and closely examine a regional 2040 transportation plan. The planning board has “serious questions” about the plan, she said.

The Town Council endorsed the plan in November after expressing similar concerns but also formed a work group to reconcile it with local land-use plans.

Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt said the council may discuss Rich’s letter but added that he values Snow’s contributions to the town. He agreed with Snow that her participation in a lawsuit challenging the town’s approval of a mixed-use development is irrelevant.

Snow apologized but contends town rules authorize the planning board to share information with other government boards.

“I am certain that the Commission can appreciate the difference between an affirmative vote made by the Town Council and recommendations of an Advisory Board, and I did not detect anyone on the Commission who was unhappy or thought it inappropriate to receive them,” Snow said in an email.

Town seeks input on manager

Morrisville has hired a search firm to help it find a new town manager, and next week the firm wants to hear from town residents.

Stephen Straus of Developmental Associates will lead a public-input session at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at town hall. Residents will have a chance to speak during the session about what they want to see in the person who handles Morrisville’s day-to-day affairs.

The town is looking for a successor for John Whitson, who left Morrisville last month after nine years to become city manager of Texarkana, Texas. Tony Chiotakis, Morrisville’s community and public services director, is serving as interim town manager while leaders search for Whitson’s replacement.

Wake leaders add to duties

Wake County school board members Kevin Hill and Susan Evans are taking on new leadership roles.

Hill will become chairman of the facilities committee, replacing Chris Malone, who resigned from the board to take his seat in the state House. Hill, who was board chairman until last month, will lead the committee as it takes the lead role in developing the new school construction bond issue.

Evans will now chair the finance committee, replacing new board chairman Keith Sutton. Evans will chair the committee that will help develop the school budget in what could be a tough funding year with county commissioners.

Sutton said that he’ll make other committee changes after Malone’s successor is appointed Feb. 5.

None of the board’s committees is headed by Republicans, who are now in the political minority. In 2010 and 2011 when Republican were in charge, Democrats chaired a few committees.

Political Trails

• State Rep. Rick Glazier will speak to the Wake Democratic Men’s Club at the Clarion hotel in downtown Raleigh on Monday. Doors open at 6 p.m., and dinner is served at 6:30 p.m. followed by the program at 7. RSVP to

• State Rep. Deborah Ross will speak to the Wake County Senior Democrats on Wednesday at the Crabtree Marriott Hotel on Glenwood Avenue. A Dutch lunch will begin at 11 a.m. with the program to follow. The meeting is open to the public.

• State Supreme Court justices Mark Martin and Paul Newby will speak to the Wake County Republican Women’s Club on Thursday at the N.C. State University Club, 4200 Hillsborough St. in Raleigh. Social begins at 11:30 a.m. followed by the lunch/program at 11:45 a.m. Lunch is $18 at the door. Pay by mail, P.O. Box 30454, Raleigh 27622, or online at For reservations, email by Monday.

Compiled by Tammy Grubb, Sarah Nagem and T. Keung Hui.

Got a tip, item or coming event? Fax Triangle Politics at 919-829-4529, or send email to Send items by noon Thursday.

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