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Mayor-elect begins work on transition


Sandy Roberson celebrates being elected mayor Tuesday at Goat Island Bottle Shop.


Staff Writer

Thursday, November 7, 2019

One day after the election, Mayor-elect Sandy Roberson has named former mayoral candidate Kevin Jones as his transition director.

In this role, Jones will assist Roberson during the next 30 days in putting together a new leadership team prior to the official swearing-in ceremony in December, according to a statement released Wednesday by Roberson.

“Mr. Jones ran a very compelling campaign for mayor and has agreed to assist me in pulling together a citizen-led team to address pressing issues facing our city,” Roberson said. “I want Kevin to help me put together the framework for several advisory committees and task forces that will be advising the mayor and City Council on major issues like improving our public schools, putting more police officers on patrol and bringing new economic development to our region.”

Roberson also said he is grateful for the support of Rocky Mount voters.

“I want to thank the voters of Rocky Mount for their support. Our city is facing some pressing issues that need immediate attention. I am going to work with Kevin on putting together a team of citizen advisors who will help us begin the critical work facing our City Council,” Roberson said in his statement.

In an interview Tuesday night, Roberson said he was excited about winning and excited about the future of Rocky Mount. Roberson also said he was excited about his opponents and what they had done.

“I hope together we can unite the city,” Roberson said Tuesday. “Campaigns tend to be divisive and that is part of the nature of it. But now is a new day and we need to move forward.”

The effort to put together a leadership team is part of Roberson’s strategy to incorporate more voices in the approach to city government.

“I believe I have been elected to be mayor of all of Rocky Mount,” Roberson told the Telegram. “I am challenged to figure out how to hear all of their voices at once, how to respond and how to move forward in the direction they feel is important, because that matters to all of us.”

In his statement, Roberson said he will be meeting with the city manager and chief financial officer in the coming days to begin a thorough review of the city’s finances.

“One of my first priorities will be getting a handle on our finances,” Roberson said. “I will work with the city manager and chief financial officer on getting current budget and revenue reports. I am also planning to reach out to the Local Government Commission and (state) treasurer asking for a review of the finances as we come into office.”

Roberson said his top two policy efforts as incoming mayor will center around safe neighborhoods and calling for a local leadership summit on public schools.

“One of Kevin’s duties will be assisting me in putting together the Schools & Jobs Task Force that will be the leading effort to help look at ways to improve our schools and economic development programs,” Roberson said in his statement.

Roberson said he also plans to work immediately with the city manager, City Council and Rocky Mount police chief on plans to improve public safety and put more police officers on patrol in neighborhoods with high crime rates.

“We need to make sure our neighborhoods are safe and secure going into the holiday season,” Roberson said in his statement.

His statement echoes a comment he made in Tuesday’s interview.

“As a city we need to move forward and work together to deal with the challenges in front of us,” Roberson said.

In a telephone interview on Wednesday, Roberson said Jones will be serving in a volunteer capacity and will not be paid for his role as transition director.