Update Friday 12:00 p.m.: Town Manager Ed Parvin reached out to Port City Daily for clarification on the meeting notices.
The notice given for these meetings was in accordance with the open meetings law,” Parvin said, referring to the special meetings held in December.
These meetings were announced to the public, the Jan. 2 meeting, however, was only put on the town’s online calendar in accordance with state law.
Since it was technically a continuance from the December meeting, state law does not require the town to notify the media or public.
Parvin is correct that there were no violations of open meeting law by the Town Council.
CAROLINA BEACH — After holding several rounds of interviews and hearing from more than 40 applicants, the Town of Carolina Beach has a new manager — but there are questions of transparency on behalf of Town Council and their surreptitious meeting.
According to a press release from the town, Lucky Narain will serve as the new Town Manager starting Feb. 25.
Town Council held yet another closed meeting on Jan. 2, however, notice of the meeting was not sent to the media or announced to the public.
While this would generally violate open meeting laws, Town Council had recessed its meeting from Dec. 22, the Saturday before Christmas, to reconvene on Jan. 2.
Recessed meetings do not require any formal notice to be sent to the public or media according to state law.
The recess is permitted by state statute, but it is not known why elected leaders decided to recess instead of simply hosting another special meeting. Council had previously held three special meetings in December; each was announced to the media and the public.
While hiring a new Town Manager was a priority for the council, holding a closed meeting on a Saturday before a holiday is not typical. Closed meetings are by default out of the public eye, however, they must begin and end the same way a public meeting does — in public.
In general, Carolina Beach live streams its public meetings, however, there was no video for the special meetings.
Technically, the council would have had to go into public session to recess the meeting and make it official, but if nobody from the media or public were in attendance, they would not know what action was taken.
Messages to Mayor Joe Benson regarding the unusual schedule of meetings and the lack of public involvement have not yet been answered at time of publication. When Benson does respond Port City Daily will update the article to reflect his answers.
About the new manager
Narain is currently serving as the Senior Manager for the City of Hayward, CA. He will assume his role in late February with the town.
“During the three-month recruitment process, 41 applicants applied for the Town Manager position, and six people were selected as finalists. Four of the six candidates selected were interviewed. The Town Manager Search Committee included all members of the Town Council, the Director of Human Resources, Town Clerk, Town Attorney, and Interim Town Manager,” the press release states.
The decision to hire Narain was unanimous.
Narain has a background in law and political science as well as a military background.
“In addition to serving in the City of Hayward, Mr. Narain has served in the City of Richmond, California, and in the Judge Advocate General Corps as a Special Advisor in the US Army at Moffett Field, California. He holds an undergraduate degree in Political Science from Christopher Newport University, a master’s in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University, and is a graduate of Fordham Law School. Mr. Narain holds a license to practice law in both New York and New Jersey. He is a former Peace Corps
Volunteer and speaks and writes fluently in Spanish. Mr. Narain has family in Wilmington and is excited to be a part of the Carolina Beach community,” the press release concludes.
Michael can be reached by email at Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Michael_Praats