Electing Board Members
In North Carolina, each county has a board of commissioners. In Clay County, there are five elected Commissioners. Each are elected at large with residence requirements. All county commissioners are elected at the same time as members of the General Assembly and other state officers, which take place in elections held in the month of November in even-numbered years. Because the board members have staggered four-year terms and two-year terms, two of the county commissioners are elected at each general election. Newly elected commissioners take office on the first Monday in December following their election. There is no requirement that a person be nominated as the candidate of a political party in order to run for the office of County Commissioner
Vacancies on the Board
Members of the board of commissioners fill mid-term vacancies in the board by appointment. If the member who is leaving the board was originally elected as the nominee of a political party, the person appointed to fill the vacancy must be a member of the same political party. If the vacancy occurs in a two-year term or in the last two years of a four-year term, the appointment is for the remainder of the unexpired term. If the vacancy occurs in the first two years of a four-year term, the appointment runs only until the next general election when an election is held to fill the office for the remainder of the unexpired term.
Occasionally, a board of commissioners finds itself deadlocked and unable to fill a vacancy. When a board of commissioners fails to fill a vacancy in its membership for 60 days, the clerk to the board of commissioners must report the vacancy to the clerk of superior court, who must fill the vacancy within 10 days after the day the vacancy is reported.
The Constitution provides that public officers continue to hold office until their successors are chosen and qualified. Thus, a member of the board of commissioners who was defeated in the election or who chose not to seek re-election retains the office until the successor takes the oath.
The Chairman of the Board
The chairman of the Clay County board of commissioners is selected by the board itself. This board also chooses a vice-chairman to act in the absence or disability of the chairman.
The chairman of the board presides at all meetings. By law, this official has the right and the duty to vote on all questions before the board unless excused by a standing rule of the board or by consent of the other board members. The chair is generally recognized by law as the chief executive officer of the county. He or she can call special meetings of the board, and can also declare states of emergency under the state laws governing riots and civil disorders.
When are board meetings held?
The board of commissioners meet regularly on the first Thursday of each month, starting at 6:45 or as soon thereafter as the Water and Sewer Board meeting is completed. The Chairman may call Special Meetings or Public Hearings, with appropriate notice being provided to the public via this website, the posting of notices at government offices and at the Courthouse. Notices will also be published in the local newspaper. If members of the public wish to view minutes of previous meetings, these can be found by clicking on the button below, or they can be found at the Register of Deeds office. Agendas are published prior to the meetings and can be found by clicking on the Agenda button below.
What is the responsibility of the Board of Commisssioners?
Through its board of commissioners, Clay county exercises its powers and discharges its responsibilities. North Carolina General Statute 153A-12 states that "except as otherwise directed by law, each power, right, duty, function, privilege and immunity of the corporation [i.e., the county] shall be exercised by the board of commissioners." This statute goes on to say that if a power is 'conferred or imposed by law without direction or restriction as to how it is to be exercised or performed,' the power or responsibility shall be carried into execution as provided by ordinance or resolution of the board of commissioners." North Carolina counties are legal entities capable of holding and managing property and possessed of many powers conferred on them by law.