Cary Mayor Wants To Make Job A Full-Time Experience
Posted June 26, 2001 5:16 a.m. EDT
CARY — Cary's mayor wants to do something that has never been done before in North Carolina. He is proposing to elect a full-time mayor with full-time pay.
With Cary's population approaching the 100,000 mark, Mayor Glen Lang says it is time for a full-time mayor with a full-time salary for several reasons.
"The mayor of Charlotte works full time for Duke Power Company, so he's taking a salary from Duke Power. This causes a conflict of interest," he says. "I mean he goes in and he's the mayor of Charlotte, but sometimes what's good for the city of Charlotte isn't good for Duke Power Company."
Lang suggests the mayor should earn about $60,000 a year, not money he would need since he describes himself as a multi-millionaire. He says Cary's next mayor probably will not have that luxury and not having to hold another job would mean the mayor would have more time to work for the town.
"The return on investment of a full-time mayor in Cary would be huge," Lang says.
Councilwoman Marla Dorrel does not think Lang's proposal is such a good idea.
"Mayor Lang took it upon himself to make this job full time and that was his choice," she says. "The people of Cary didn't ask him to, and I don't believe it has made him any more effective than scores of other mayors across the state who manage to balance their workload and the mayor's job."
Lang's idea looks like it has enough votes to pass, but that does not mean it will fly in other fast-growing places.
"I think that's important in the ethos of the state. We really don't want to go to have permanent full-time politicians, which is what they would be if we paid our elected officials enough to live on," says UNC government professor David Lawrence.
If approved Thursday, Lang's proposal would make him the only full-time mayor in the state, but he may not benefit from the new policy very long. He says he has not decided whether to run again or not, but he believes his wife will say one term as mayor is more than enough.