NHC vice-chair says options to remove Olson-Boseman are legally limited
At Monday's New Hanover County Board of Commissioners meeting, the embattled chairwoman attended remotely — while the vice-chair addressed the elephant in the room.
Chairwoman Julia Olson-Boseman barely spoke during the one-hour meeting. Vice-chair Deb Hays indicated that she had been asked to conduct business.
County commissioners have said little about Olson-Boseman’s ongoing legal problems, but Hays did acknowledge them before opening the public comment section — saying the board has limited options.
“I understand that some of you may be here to speak about recent news reports regarding Commissioner Olson-Boseman. I would like for everyone to understand the legal boundaries that this board of commissioners is subject to regarding any elected member. Based on the state law, this board cannot remove any commissioner who was duly elected to office unless the commissioner moves outside of the jurisdiction they were elected to serve, or is convicted of a felony,” Hays said.
Hays added that the county’s rules of procedure prevented removing a commissioner from the chair position except for the same reasons, moving out of the jurisdiction (i.e. New Hanover County) or committing a felony. Unlike state law, the county’s rules of procedure can be changed with a vote by a majority of board members.
Only one speaker, Neal Shulman, spoke on the topic, denouncing the board for not taking any action.
“You have not censured her or removed her from any responsibilities, which you can do. And it disturbs us that you haven't,” Shulman said.
There was limited public business on the rest of the agenda, although the county did formalize the donation of land for a county-run grocery store in Wilmington’s Northside, long a food desert. And Commissioner Rob Zapple momentarily cut through the evening’s tension with a resolution honoring the late Tony Rivenbark, director of Thalian Hall and a pillar of the arts community for over forty years. The resolution passed unanimously.