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Old Issue Faces New Durham Council Members

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DURHAM, N.C. — Two new council members took office Monday night in Durham, but for some, the future of city manager Marcia Conner took center stage.

When Mayor Bill Bell was sworn in for his second term, his mind was on the city -- not the city manager.

"That isn't a priority for me. My priority is to move the city forward with the goals we've established," Bell said.

Some of his colleagues on the council believe the city cannot move forward until Marcia Conner's future is addressed.

"I think in fairness to the manager, the City Council -- we need to have this issue resolved, one way or another," council member Diane Cattoti said.

Last year, Conner was criticized for questionable contract negotiations and her handling of the police chief search. Now she undergoes monthly performance reviews.

"I haven't heard any feedback contrary to it being other than good," Conner said.

Conner also heard the campaign promise of a man who now sits near her in the council chambers. Eugene Brown ran on a pledge to replace her.

"I think Durham would be better served with her departure," he said.

Brown admits it may take some time to gather enough votes to remove her, but some members do not want to wait.

"I think we need to meet as soon as possible and either give her a vote of confidence or vote to replace her," council member John Best said.

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