Washington City Council Member William Pitt was chosen by representatives from cities and towns across North Carolina on Thursday to lead the North Carolina League of Municipalities as its president over the next year. The selection of Pitt as president came during CityVision 2019, NCLM’s annual conference held in Hickory this week. The event attracted more than 400 municipal officials from around state, who gathered to elect officers, conduct other official business and learn from informative programming that included focus on cities and towns being future-ready, broadband access, leveraging resources and grants, and addressing the national opioid crisis. Besides Pitt’s election as president, League members selected Cary Council Member Jennifer Robinson the organization’s first vice president and Salisbury Council Member Karen Alexander as second vice president.
Pitt begins his term as League president after having served on the Washington City Council since 2009. He has a long history of involvement in League activities, including serving on NCLM policy committees and the Board of Directors. Pitt urged his fellow municipal officials to take advantage of the opportunities working through an organization like the League offers, as it focuses on the common purpose and goals of North Carolina cities and towns. "Let’s make it our goal to listen, to engage and leave our communities better than we found them. Whether serving on legislative policy committees, speaking at the General Assembly, or sharing the value of cities and towns and what we bring to the table, we have that opportunity with the League,” Pitt said.
Pitt replaces outgoing president Michael Lazzara, Mayor Pro Tem of Jacksonville. League Executive Director Paul Meyer praised Lazzara’s dedication, noting how he served during a challenging but successful time in the League’s history. Those challenges included League staff being displaced by the downtown Raleigh fire in 2017 and the postponement of CityVision in 2018 due to Hurricane Florence and the many difficulties that storm posed for cities and towns, including Lazzara’s. “Despite all of that, the League continued to evolve into a mission-focused organization, and Michael’s service was a huge part of that. His dedication in assisting in efforts on addressing the opioid crisis and broadband access were remarkable. He has been integral in terms of continuing to address structural changes in our organization and better positioning the League politically.” Meyer said he looked forward to continuing those trends under the leadership of Pitt, Robinson and Alexander.
The League also presented awards for their contributions to the organization and North Carolina municipalities to former Executive Director Ellis Hankins, former state House Speaker Harold Brubaker, Superior Court Judge and former Rocky Mount City Council Member Lamont Wiggins, former Court of Appeals Judge Jack Cozort, former N.C. Association of County Commissioners Executive Director Ron Aycock, and League past-presidents Ronnie Wall, Jocelyn Johnson, Everette Clark and Lois Winstead.
The League would like to thank its new officers and all municipal officials who made CityVision 2019 so impactful. Special thanks to Hickory Mayor Hank Guess, fellow elected leaders and city staffers there who went above and beyond as warm and welcoming hosts. Read more about the conference in local news coverage from the Hickory Daily Record.