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@NCCapitol

Lee trustees say new law unconstitutional

Posted August 1, 2013
Updated August 2, 2013

— Four members of the Board of Trustees of Central Carolina Community College have filed suit against a new law that terminated their positions on the board as of Thursday.

A Lee County Superior Court judge granted a restraining order against the new law on Monday, the day the lawsuit was filed.

House Bill 512, sponsored by Rep. Mike Stone, R-Lee, became law July 17. It ends the terms of the four trustees who were appointed by the Lee County Board of Education. It also bans the four from being reappointed to their former seats.

There are 16 members on the Central Carolina Community College board, most appointed by county commissioners in Chatham, Lee, and Harnett counties, the area served by the school. 

The four terminated trustees – Janet Hayes, Tony Lett, Chet Mann and Chip Post – say the law unfairly targets the appointees of the county's Democrat-led school board while leaving in place four trustees similarly appointed by the Republican-led Lee County Board of Commissioners. 

Post says the law doesn't serve any legitimate governmental interest. "It's just arbitrary and capricious. It's just designed to get in the face of our local school board," he said.

Post pointed to another new law, House Bill 491, also filed by Stone, that takes authority for school resource officers away from the Lee County school board and gives it to the sheriff, who is Republican.

Lee County Republicans, Post said, "want to control everything. They're just politicizing everything, is what it is, and I just decided I'm not going to sit back and let it happen." 

He said the state constitution and state law grant appointees the right to serve four-year terms. The new law violates that right. 

"I just got sworn in July 1. I'm the shortest-term trustee in history, I guess," he said.

The plaintiffs are being represented by Post's law partner, Jonathan Silverman. They've asked to schedule the first hearing in the case Aug. 8. 

Stone did not respond to requests for comment.

17 Comments

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  • NCNATIVE Aug 5, 10:12 a.m.

    Catgirl: The County Commissioners where doing it "wrong" too, but he didn't touch those cause they are Republican. Talk about WRONG...why didn't he do the same to the commissioner appointees?

  • catgirl Aug 3, 2:33 p.m.

    This is crazy. The statutes say that the CCCC Trustees are supposed to be nominated by the elected school boards of the counties the Community College serves. Lee County School Board, against the law, nominated all four trustees, leaving Harnett and Chatham counties out in the cold. These appointments were ILLEGAL. The Community College was notified of this illegality at least 2x in past years. H 512 had to be passed to get the Lee County School Board to follow state law.

  • whatelseisnew Aug 2, 6:43 p.m.

    While I think this law is wrong, it is laughable that Dems claim something is being politicized. That is exactly what the Dems do, it is just that in this case, they do not like the shoe squeezing their feet. this law though should not have gone through. The elected commissioners put these people on the boards and if the people in the counties are not happy with what the board members are doing they should make that known to their commissioners. I do not know if these people are doing a good job on the board but it is not for the State to decide in this particular case. Now putting the resource officers under control of the sheriff is probably a good idea.

  • Inter Alios Aug 2, 4:14 p.m.

    About time someone put Stone and his co-conspirators in their place. Good luck to the affected Trustees. Go get em Silverman!

  • bakerbillwade Aug 2, 11:31 a.m.

    another republican power grab!

  • rlsmith5 Aug 2, 11:15 a.m.

    I hope the people of Mr Stone's district remember all these shoddy things he has done and he continues to do when it comes to his next election. I am TOTALLY EMBARRASSED that he is the representative from this district.

  • URADA Aug 2, 10:24 a.m.

    "Good News! Hope this brings to light some of the underhanded politicking happening in Lee County."
    Luvthesky

    Mike Stone LEADS the "underhanded politicking happening in Lee County."

  • hp277 Aug 2, 10:23 a.m.

    Another blatant Republican power grab - what a surprise.

  • URADA Aug 2, 10:21 a.m.

    Mike Stone is unfit for office. He is certainly not representing any of the people I know in Lee County. He should be removed from office. I hope the former trustees clean up in court!

  • archmaker Aug 2, 10:04 a.m.

    this was just another of the (lawyers') jobs bills of 2013...

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