Open Letter to Fayetteville’s Citizens:
The City of Fayetteville finds itself at an important crossroad. Our future prosperity and vitality as a city require us to come together to address a growing loss of confidence by city residents with the current structure of city government and the lack of representation it is providing our citizens.
For over twenty years, we have worked with a nine single member district council structure that has resulted in our citizens having a voice in only two members of the 10-member City Council. When a citizen has an issue with city government or concerns about our collective future, they need more than two people accountable to them.
The disconnect between citizens and the Council has only worsened in recent years. Today we find too many citizens who feel disillusioned from the decisions of their city government. We see and hear this growing dissatisfaction with the lack of representation and the growing lack of confidence in the process and the structure of our City Council. Turnout in our last municipal election was 9.5%, far below the state-wide turnout of 16.3%, as more and more citizens have given up on our current Council structure.
Important issues in our city like solving the massive storm water issue problems or fully staffing our understaffed police department or significant unresolved issues with the County go unaddressed, and often not even discussed, while the Council bogs down in ward politics and infighting. The basic responsibilities of local government are not being met.
We all love this city and have dedicated much of our lives to serving her as elected officials from all political parties, districts, and ethnic groups. The issues we see are not political or racial or geographic. Instead, it is a failure of the local government structure to provide adequate representation for the citizens of Fayetteville.
It is time for a change. Most cities in North Carolina have some number of at-large members as a part of their Council structure including nine of the state’s twelve largest cities. At-large members provide every citizen more representation on the City Council which ensures that important city-wide issues are addressed.
Today, we announce that we have formed a new group, VoteYesFayetteville (VoteYesFayetteville.com), to organize a citizen-led petition to add a referendum on an upcoming election to improve the structure of the City Council from its current nine single member districts and mayor to a structure of five single member districts and four at large members and mayor elected by the entire city.
With six votes (a mayor, 4 at large members and a district representative), every citizen will have more representation on Council, more elected people they can vote for, and more people they can hold accountable for their actions. With more elected people accountable to the big picture, we can work to resolve the important issues our city faces.
When this citizen-led petition receives the necessary 5,000 signatures of registered City of Fayetteville voters and they are authenticated by the Board of Elections, then the Council will place the Referendum on the next city election. At that time, all of the citizens of Fayetteville will have the opportunity to vote for the Referendum and to help protect their voices in city government.
We welcome your support in this important effort by Voting Yes Fayetteville! Contact us at info@VoteYes.com to sign the petition.
Tony Chavonne, Mayor 2005-2013
Nat Robertson, Mayor 2013 – 2017
Bobby Hurst, Council Member 2007 – 2017
Ted Mohn, Council Member Dec 2007-Dec 2011 and Dec 2013-Dec 2019
Wade Fowler, Council Member Dec 2011 – Dec 2013
Wesley Meredith, Council Member Dec 2005 – Jan 2011
Jim Arp, Council Member Jan 2011 – Dec 2019
P.O. Box 87571
Fayetteville, NC 28304