Local News

Raleigh Mayor, County Chairman at Odds Over Rolesville School

Posted September 25, 2007 8:06 p.m. EDT
Updated September 26, 2007 11:04 a.m. EDT

— Raleigh's mayor and the chairman of the Wake County Board of Commissioners are at odds, again.

First, they clashed over the city's request to fund a college football stadium. Then came a battle over tax money for North Hills East. The latest round is a dispute over education.

“The school board does not have an accountability issue on land purchases,” Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker said during the latest taping of "WRAListens."

On the program, Meeker criticized the commissioners' decision to halt a middle-school land purchase in Rolesville. Meeker implied the commissioners' delays were wasting tax dollars.

"To sit around and quibble over a few thousand dollars per acre on land purchases when you've got a $15 million or $20 million school, the construction costs are going up 10 or 20 percent a year, makes no sense at all,” Meeker said on the program.

"Mayor Meeker had no business talking about those without a county commissioner there to defend us,” Tony Gurley, chairman of the Board of Commissioners, said Tuesday.

Gurley was so upset by Meeker's comments, he said he wants to discuss them at the next commission meeting.

"It is false. It is not true. I think the public needs to know the Wake County Board of Commissioners is protecting the taxpayers' money,” said Gurley.

"My comments were pointed, and things need to change,” Meeker said Tuesday.

When WRAL talked Tuesday with Meeker, he defended his comments and said he has no conflict of interest since his wife, Anne McLaurin, is running unopposed for the District 5 seat on the school board.

"I think the mayor of Raleigh can certainly have comments about the school system. My wife, when she takes office in December, since she has no opponent, may well express other opinions, and she certainly is entitled to do that. But there's no reason I can't express my opinions,” said Meeker.

"I'm glad to debate him on the facts. When I hear falsehoods, I'll call attention to it," said Gurley.

Meeker said that if he is invited to next week's commission meeting, he will attend. So far, Gurley said Meeker has not been formally invited.

The commissioners will replay an unedited portion of the comments from "WRAListens" before the meeting.