Mayor Priscilla Everette-Oates should resign for the best interests and future of the troubled town of Princeville.
Reputed to be the first town in America founded by free slaves, Princeville has a long, tortured history of disaster – both financial and natural.
It suffered terribly in the flood that destroyed the town’s dike after Hurricane Floyd in 1999.
And it is the only town in North Carolina whose finances have twice been taken over by the Local Government Commission. The first time occurred in 1997; the second occasion was last year. And although its financial state is improving, Princeville today remains under Local Government Commission oversight.
The town has struggled to land businesses and industries to offer employment to its 2,000-some residents. Steady jobs would no doubt improve the town’s tax base.
But as residents look for leaders to tackle that challenge and steer the community toward a brighter future, the serious charges Everette-Oates faces related to embezzlement make the mayor herself a hindrance to significant progress.
Everette-Oates has yet to be tried, and she remains innocent until proven otherwise. But the nature of the allegations are enough to erode whatever confidence remained in her leadership capabilities. And the scandal surrounding her administration will do nothing to attract the businesses and industries Princeville so desperately needs.
The mayor faces three challengers in town elections this fall. She would do her constituents a huge favor by stepping aside now, so the town can focus its efforts on more than the legal battles she will soon face in a courtroom.