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BELVILLE, NC (WECT) – As of Friday evening, Mayor Batson has turned in his resignation, effective immediately.
Commissioners then voted to accept the resignation.
Batson's resignation was submitted in the form of a handwritten note.
Batson surprised many people in Belville recently when he revealed he was meeting with leaders in the town of Leland about a possible merger of the towns.
Batson said he met behind closed doors because he didn't want details of the plan to go public before it was finalized. Commissioner Joe Breault said he was "blind sided" by the news.
Friday night, Batson submitted his letter of resignation less than an hour before the special meeting to discuss his censuring.
After the announcement was made, residents applauded. Long time resident John Clark said, "I think it was a surprise for everyone but I think it's good for the town, it's a good move. We will move forward now." Clark added, "We didn't need the issues going on with the Mayor and in this case, I think he made the right decision."
Due to a North Carolina State statute, the town of Belville was forced to appoint a new Mayor immediately. Therefore they chose, Mayor Pro Tem Mike Allen.
Allen received Batson's letter of resignation first, but he was still shocked, "I was caught by surprise totally. We did not see this coming. But we have an obligation to the citizens to proceed."
Allen says he has no plans to further discuss the merger with leaders in Leland. Instead, he wants to make sure that council is more transparent, "I will proceed with the agenda we have for the downtown development area, to get a permanent town hall, and look out for the needs of our citizens." Allen added, "I don't think we should have anything done behind closed doors."
Allen will serve as the Mayor until December, 2013. Charles Bost will take over as new mayor pro tem.
The resolution to censure Batson has been tabled unanimously, as well as the town charter, and the recall election.
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