PAC Founder To Make 2nd Bid For EC Mayor

PAC founder Williams to make 2nd bid for EC mayor
By Paul Nielsen The Daily Advance Staff Writer Jul 3, 2023

Christina Williams is seeking a rematch with incumbent Mayor Kirk Rivers in Elizabeth City’s non-partisan municipal election in October.

Williams, who run unsuccessfully for mayor in last spring’s delayed city election, announced her second bid for the city’s highest elected office at the Pasquo-tank Political Action Committee’s annual picnic Saturday afternoon at Journey Christian Church. Williams, a registered Republican, founded the PAC in 2021 and is the group’s executive director.

Rivers told The Daily Advance back in May that he would seek a second term as mayor in the city’s Oct. 10 election in which all eight city council seats will also be up for grabs. Filing begins Friday at noon and ends July 21 at noon.

Williams finished third in the 2022 mayor’s race, receiving 361 votes, or 13.37%. Rivers won the race with 1,364 votes, or 50.50%, while former city councilor Jeannie Young finished second with 972 votes, or 35.99%.

Williams said she is running to improve transparency in city government and to fix the city’s financial troubles. To improve transparency, Williams said one thing she will do if elected is hold regularly scheduled town halls.

“I think there is a total disregard for transparency in Elizabeth City,” Williams said. “If you google City Council Elizabeth City and you pull up the monthly cash balance report it still has not been updated since 2018. We shouldn’t be hiding financial information from the citizens.’’

Williams said she is concerned that Rivers and some other elected officials are ignoring directives and advice from the state’s Local Government Commission regarding the city’s financial state.

Elizabeth City is on the LGC’s Unit Assistance List mainly because of not submitting audits on time. One past due audit has been completed but the 2021-22 audit still has not been completed. The city and the LGC entered into a financial accountability agreement last October.

“We are, obviously, in a lot of financial trouble,” Williams said. “The city is not complying with the state, they (city) still haven’t explained where a lot of missing money has gone and we have extreme infrastructure needs.’’

PB Mares, the private accounting firm that completes the city’s annual audits, did not report that the city was missing any funds in its past-due 2020-21 audit. The firm is currently completing the city’s also late 2021-22 audit. The city is on the LGC’s Unit Assistance List because of the late audits and because of its failure to reconcile its monthly bank statements for a 15- to 16-month period.

Williams believes that because of her work with the PAC and with local and state Republican party leaders, she has built connections that will benefit the city if elected.

“I also have the connections with local and state officials to effectively bring ideas and solutions to Elizabeth City,” Williams said.

The May 17, 2022 municipal elections were scheduled to be held in October 2021 but were delayed because needed U.S. Census data from the 2020 census was not available for the legally required redistricting of the city’s four wards. That May city election also coincided with Republican and Democratic primaries which featured several contested state and local races.

In the last contested October mayoral election in 2017, fewer than 12% of the city’s voters cast ballots. Williams believes the key to victory is getting voters who want a new direction in the city to the polls.

“There are a lot of differences in this race,” Williams said. “For one, we don’t have a primary so it is just municipal. Voter ID is in place now, we have felony voting restrictions in place now. The Democrat Party chair, who did a fantastic job for them for a long time, has retired so they are without an organized, seasoned chair. The Republican Party has an organized chair for the first time in a long time.”

Williams said she intends to be the first candidate to file at the Pasquotank Board of Elections on Friday. For the last municipal election, Williams filed on the final day.

“I don’t want to be accused of splitting the vote and I want to make sure everybody knows that I want to do the job,” Williams said.