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[The NC City & County Management Association was preceded by the North Carolina City Managers Association, organized March 25, 1938 to function as a part of the North Carolina League of Municipalities. The following is an historical account written in 1976 by S. Leigh Wilson, then Executive Director of the North Carolina League of Municipalities, covering the period 1938-1965.]
Its Predecessor Association and Initial Organization 1938 to 1965
The first record on file with the North Carolina League of Municipalities relating to a meeting of city managers is a copy of a mimeographed letter dated March 8, 1938. This letter addressed "Dear Sir" was signed by Patrick Healy, Jr., Executive Secretary of the North Carolina League of Municipalities (Executive Vice President of the National League of Cities from 1953 to 1971), and was apparently mailed to all city managers in North Carolina. Mr. Healy had apparently previously proposed a meeting of city managers and he quoted excerpts from letters of reply. He stated in this letter "therefore, abiding by the wishes of the majority I am taking the liberty of suggesting that this conference be held at 10:00 a.m. Friday, March 25, at the Sir Walter Hotel in Raleigh." This is the first recorded effort to arrange a meeting of North Carolina City Managers.
Sketchy handwritten minutes and a copy of these minutes typed therefrom, indicate that this meeting of managers convened at 10:15 a.m. on March 25, 1938, in the Raleigh Room at the Sir Walter Hotel in Raleigh. Mr. Healy was elected temporary chairman and he explained the purpose of the meeting. The minutes indicate that most of the morning session was devoted to a discussion of traffic safety and needed legislation for municipalities. These minutes further state as follows:
Following luncheon, the group perfected organization plans. A complete list of those in attendance, all City Managers follows:
These eleven managers elected H. L. Burdette of Monroe, President, Z. G. Hollowell of Goldsboro, Vice President and J. C. Harris of Roxboro, Secretary and designated the League of Municipalities as the Secretariat.
The above officers were instructed to prepare bylaws for the new association to be acted upon at the next meeting, which was held in conjunction with the Annual Convention of the League of Municipalities in Asheville the first part of August, 1938.
It is interesting to note that these minutes also state "19 North Carolina cities have council-management government officially recognized by the International City Managers Association. At least five more towns have established the form by ordinance, providing for a town manager who is responsible for all administrative functions." This would indicate that almost 50%, 11 of 24 Managers, attended this first meeting.
The record of this meeting is unclear but a group of managers did meet in conjunction with the League of Municipalities Convention at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville during the "first part of August 1938" and adopted the Association's first constitution. This document apparently served the Association without amendment until the formation of the North Carolina City/County Management Association in 1964. This August 1938 meeting of managers in Asheville is referred to in several League documents as the first annual meeting of the North Carolina City Managers Association. Mr. P. M. Burdette, City Manager of Asheville (not to be confused with H. L. Burdette, Monroe), was elected President at that time and Association officers through the year 1963 were as follows:
Except for a list of the presidents as indicated above, the Association records are rather sketchy except for miscellaneous copies of annual city manager conference programs. The programs included subjects of current interest to managers but the business sessions were usually informal and normally limited to the election of officers and the selection of a meeting site.
During the World War II period, 1941 through 1945, there were few meetings because of limited travel and restrictions on this and other types of meetings. An unsigned copy of a mimeographed letter from the Acting Executive Secretary of the League, dated October 30, 1945, indicates that a questionnaire was sent to managers to determine if Henry Yancey, City Manager of Greensboro, Association President, should call a meeting of managers since a state-wide League conference could not be held during the year. Apparently it was the consensus of the managers to go ahead with the meeting and it was held on Monday, December 2 and 3, 1945 in Raleigh. At the suggestion of Roy Braden, City Manager of High Point, the South Carolina city managers were invited to attend and the program for this meeting indicates they were in attendance. The featured dinner speaker for this meeting was Dr. Clarence E. Ridley, Executive Director of the International City Managers Association, who spoke on "Pitfalls of the Manager's Job."
In June, 1947, the managers met at the League of Municipalities Annual Convention in the old Ocean Terrace Hotel (now the site of the Blockade Runner Motor Hotel) at Wrightsville Beach. Approximately 20 managers sat on footstools and on the floor for a half-day informal session. (This was the first managers meeting the writer attended). The manager's annual conference in 1947, was held in the Sedgefield Inn in Greensboro and managers from South Carolina as well as Virginia were invited to attend. At this conference all the electric power went out as a result of a storm and again, Dr. Clarence Ridley made the principal address.
The Carolina Hotel at Pinehurst then became the favorite site for the annual spring meeting of the Association and remained so for a number of years. The 1948 Conference was held in Pinehurst and again the program that year indicates that the South Carolina and Virginia managers participated. That year the managers voted to limit attendance to managers, their staff assistants and invited program guests.
Records indicate that from its initial organization in 1938 until 1964, the association met at least twice each year except during the World War II years. The annual conference was held in the spring and the Association met again as part of the League of Municipalities convention in the fall. Throughout the years no membership dues were charged and the records indicate that the expenses of the Association were financed first by the League of Municipalities and then through sufficient registration fees at conferences and other meetings to offset the Association expenses.
In the late 1950's, principally at the urging of General James R. Townsend, City Manager of Greensboro, the Association considered and subsequently established a City Manager's Annual Seminar at the Institute of Government in Chapel Hill. The annual seminar, usually in February, was established to provide in depth presentation of subjects of interest to managers which could not be adequately covered in the Association's other sessions.
The North Carolina City/County Management Association
At the manager's seminar at the Institute of Government in Chapel Hill, in February, 1964, Association President Doug Mackintosh, City Manager of Burlington, announced the appointment of a committee to draft a recommended constitution for a City and County Managers' Association. He appointed W. J. Veeder of Charlotte, chairman and W. H. Carper of Raleigh, J. S. Carter of Gastonia, Jack C. Coss of Washington, H. E. Dickerson of Statesville and A. B. Sansbury of Jacksonville as members of the committee. The idea of a joint City-County Managers Association had been discussed previously and was supported principally by W. J. Veeder, City Manager of Charlotte.
On April 13, 1964, a memorandum was forwarded to all city and county managers in North Carolina by the committee which enclosed a recommended constitution for the managers' consideration. In preparing the recommended constitution, the committee had secured similar documents from across the country. The committee then met at the second session of the City Manager's Seminar at the Institute to consider the essential elements of the constitution and the final draft of the proposed document was agreed to by telephone.
This memorandum stated that at the manager's business session on Sunday morning, May 3, at the Blockade Runner Motor Hotel at Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, the committee would propose the recommended constitution for adoption. Complete minutes of this May 3, 1964 business session were taken by the staff of the League of Municipalities. These minutes indicate that President J. D. Mackintosh, City Manager of Burlington, called the business session to order at approximately 10:15 a.m. in the Lee Room of the Blockade Runner Motor Hotel. They further indicate that the President asked the county managers and Mr. Alexander McMahon, Executive Secretary of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners, to withdraw from the meeting in order that the county managers and the city managers could consider separately the question of forming a joint City and County Managers Association in accordance with the proposed constitution.
These minutes further indicate that Mr. C. L. Lineback, City Manager of Salisbury, moved that city managers unanimously invite the county managers to join them in forming a joint association in which both would have equal voting rights and privileges. This motion was seconded by Mr. W. H. Carper, City Manager of Raleigh and Bill Britt, City Manager of Sanford and the motion passed unanimously. Mr. Harry Weatherly, Mecklenburg County Manager, then reported that the county managers had unanimously accepted the city managers invitation to join with them in forming a North Carolina Association of City and County Managers.
Then followed a discussion of proposed amendments to the constitution. The constitution was then unanimously adopted as amended.
Then followed the election of the first officers of the Association which were:
Following this initial organizational meeting in May, the president, W. J. Veeder, in a memorandum dated June 8, 1964 suggested a meeting of the Association's Executive Committee and the Executive Director of the League, the Executive Director of the County Commissioners Association and staff from the Institute of Government which was held on Friday morning, July 17, at the Institute of Government in Chapel Hill. It is evident that this group was attempting to define and implement the purposes of the Association. The three objectives of the new Association were highlighted in Mr. Veeder's memorandum as follows:
On June 15, 1964, the first Association mailing was forwarded to the membership which included a copy of the constitution as adopted at the organizational meeting on May 3; a statement for the five dollar membership dues and an application form for associate membership.
In the Spring of 1965, the Association began publishing a newsletter on the Association's own stationery and in a newsletter, dated April 23, 1965, President Veeder proposed an amendment to the constitution to increase the membership dues in order to support an annual fellowship for a graduate student in public administration in the program started during the year at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This increase was recommended by a committee, chaired by Bob Peck, Town Manager of Chapel Hill, which indicated that the cost of this program might run from $600 to $900 a year.
The first annual conference of the North Carolina City and County Managers Association, following its organizational meeting in May of 1964, was held on May 7-8, 1965 at the MidPines Club Hotel in Southern Pines.
At that time, the Association established its annual fellowship for the graduate student in public administration at UNC and amended the Association constitution to provide for an increase in membership dues.
Following this May 1965 conference in Southern Pines, the responsibility for the maintenance of Association records was transferred to the Association officers. However, for the continuity of the record, files in the League office indicate that the following managers were elected as president of the Association from 1965 through 1967.
Harry Weatherly, County Manager, Mecklenburg County [Ed.: Corrected from the original.]
It was also determined at the 1965 conference that the NC League of Municipalities and the NC Association of County Commissioners would share the duty of assisting the Association with its annual conference in alternating years.