Local News

Fayetteville Residents To Vote On Reducing Size of City Council

Posted April 25, 2000

— Fayetteville voters will decide on an issue next week that could affect minority representation on the city council. The resolution would decrease the size of the 12-member council to nine single district representatives and a voting mayor.

David Padgett is opposed to the resolution. He says he likes to be able to vote for five city council members: three at large seats, a district representative and a mayor. However, a task force recommendation would cut the three at large positions down to two.

"We've got a big city," Padgett says. "We can well afford the council as it is now."

At Large councilman Marshall Pitts is in favor of reducing the council's size, including the seat he now holds.

"I'm the first African-American elected at large in 15 or 16 years so I try not to focus on myself," Pitts says. "I focus on the seat, and typically the seat tends to exclude people who are minority in nature."

Former city councilwoman Dr. Susan Cheeks talked to a group of voters at a Junior League forum on Wednesday. She says she helped create the larger council to give minorities more influence.

"Fayetteville is a very well racially-integrated city and the lines had to be drawn very carefully to insure that we could get enough districts with big African-American representation," Cheeks says.

Five African-American council members, along with two white council members, want to do away with the at large seats.

Residents will vote on the resolution on Tuesday. If the resolution is approved, it would also give the mayor a vote. Currently, the mayor can only vote in case of a tie.

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