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Bell retires from UNC School of Government 

North Carolina’s local government professionals said goodbye to Fleming Bell, a distinguished colleague and resource, upon his retirement in January.  Bell, a professor of public law and government, served North Carolina for more than three decades as a city-county planner, attorney and expert in a multitude of municipal topics.

According to League Associate General Counsel John Phelps, Bell’s colleagues will miss his vast knowledge of North Carolina and its history. Phelps has worked with Bell as a friend and professional since Bell joined the School of Government in 1982, but most recently as a liaison to the North Carolina Association of Municipal Clerks.

“I really believe the clerks will miss his input for years to come,” Phelps said. “There’s no question. He’s a prolific writer and great resource for municipal clerks.”

Bell has written several books on municipal procedures, but Phelps said some of his most widely used are Ethics, Conflicts, and Offices: A Guide for Local Officials; Suggested Rules of Procedure for a City Council; and A Model Code of Ethics for North Carolina Local Elected Officials.

Bell also played an integral role for the Association by ensuring International Institute of Municipal Clerks courses were available for clerks who were seeking certification. According to UNC School of Government Dean Mike Smith, it’s because of Bell’s work that North Carolina’s certification program is a national model.

“Rather than catalog all that Fleming has done over his wonderful career, I want to focus on how he has done his work,” Smith said in an email. “I cannot think of another colleague who has been more deeply committed to the mission of the Institute and the School. Fleming is a native North Carolinian, and our mission has aligned perfectly with his interest in improving his home state.”

Former League Executive Director Ellis Hankins also recognized Bell’s valuable work with the League.

“His work has improved the decision-making process and quality of decisions made by local elected officials across North Carolina,” Hankins said. “He has been a valuable resource for our city and county clerks and served our citizens well.”

Bell is a member of the Continuing Legal Education Committee of the North Carolina Bar Association, and has served as a gubernatorial appointee to the North Carolina General Statutes Commission. Bell earned a Bachelor’s degree and Juris Doctor from Duke University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and was first in his law school class. He also holds a master's degree in regional planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.