Category: Government & Public Sector (page 1 of 2)

An Untapped Source of Savings for State and Local Government Owners of Property

By Drew ErteschikJ.M. Durnovich and Cosmo Zinkow


It is almost unheard of that a state or local government entity is able to tap into a new source of cost savings that has not already been tapped.  Fortunately, however, as a result of a recent administrative ruling from the North Carolina Department of Administration, state and local government entities are now able to pursue millions of dollars in taxpayer savings.

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Coming Soon To a Street Near You: 50-Foot Wireless Cell Phone Towers

By Al Benshoff

With the adoption of H.B. 310 (S.L. 2017-159), all municipalities and the N.C. Department of Transportation must allow the location of “small wireless facilities” in the public rights-of-way.  Here are a few FAQs about the application of the law.

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‘A Very Happy Accident’: Tom McCormick On His 40-Year Career With the City Of Raleigh

By Ben A. Mount

In September of 2017, Thomas A. McCormick, Jr., announced his plan to retire as the City Attorney for the City of Raleigh after serving in that position for over 40 years.  I’m one of many lawyers who has had the opportunity to work with Tom, and I’m sure there are many more who would be interested in learning about Tom’s career in public service.  For that reason, instead of writing an article about the law, I decided to conduct a brief “career overview” interview with Tom McCormick to share with my colleagues in the NCBA.  Enjoy!

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A County Attorney Counts Her Blessings

By Aimee Scotton

When I am worried and I can’t sleep, I count my blessings instead of sheep. And I fall asleep counting my blessings.

Since we’ve reached the start of a new year, I thought this might be a good time to look back and list the things, as a county attorney, that I am thankful for in 2017.  So, in no particular order, here goes:

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NC COA Addresses New Point In Tillett v. Town of Kill Devil Hills

On Tuesday, a panel of the Court of Appeals issued a unanimous decision  in a Public Records Act case on a point not previously addressed:  “We therefore hold that, in order to confer jurisdiction upon the trial court in a Public Records Act suit, the plaintiff must initiate mediation within 30 days of the filing of the responsive pleading as required by N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7A-38.3E(b).”

The Court rejected the argument that this new statutory requirement was merely procedural with enforcement in the discretion of the court in the judicial review.

The decision came in Jerry R. Tillett v. Town of Kill Devil Hills, Public Records Act – Mediation, Public Record Request; No Jurisdiction; Jurisdictional vs. Procedural Rules

What State and Local Governments Need To Know About the FCC’s Net Neutrality Repeal

Government and public sector attorneys may not have thought the FCC’s net neutrality repeal had direct impact on their work.  This article, on the newsletter Route Fifty, however, provides information on a little-publicized feature of the FCC’s net neutrality repeal.  The net neutrality repeal apparently also sets out an FCC policy of broadly expanding preemption of state and local laws and rules related to broadband, cell providers, etc.

Bart Goodson: N.C. House Speaker’s Chief of Staff on Serving the Public

By Skye David

“There is no greater challenge and no greater honor than to be in public service.”
                                                                                                                                                                            — Condoleezza Rice

The words of Condoleezza Rice ring true when speaking with the North Carolina House Speaker’s Chief of Staff Bart Goodson.  In a political environment that is seen as incredibly polarized, Goodson’s stabilizing demeanor and passion for the people of North Carolina is both noticeable and enviable.

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Item of Interest: Gatekeeper Orders in North Carolina Courts: What, When, and How

Government & Public Sector Section members should find the following article from the UNC School of Government of interest. It relates to North Carolina law regarding “gatekeeper orders” for frequent, harassing-type filers.


Local Governments vs. Big Pharma: A New Wave of Litigation Alleges Liability For the Opioid Epidemic

By Drew Erteschik,[1] J.M. Durnovich and Cosmo Zinkow



The opioid epidemic is an American tragedy.  It is difficult to convey the breadth of the epidemic with a single statistic, but let this sink in:  For every person killed by gun violence, three people will die from an opioid overdose.[2]

As the epidemic worsens, local governments are scrambling for solutions.  They are also scrambling to keep up with the costs—the public health, law enforcement, public employment, and other costs that the opioid crisis has left on their doorstep.  With insufficient financial assistance from Congress and state legislatures to cover these costs, local governments are turning to the courts.

Across the nation, cities and counties are suing opioid drugmakers and distributors.  These lawsuits seek to hold drug companies accountable—at least in part—for the opioid epidemic.  No North Carolina city or county has filed a lawsuit of this kind yet, but they surely will soon.

The authors of this article—two litigators and their future colleague—would like to explore this litigation in three parts:

The first part gives a brief overview of the costs of the opioid epidemic on North Carolina and its local governments. The second part discusses state and local government litigation against drug companies in other states—essentially a preview of what future litigation in North Carolina might look like. The third part gives the authors’ predictions for the litigation, along with recently released information about a number of large settlements.

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The One CLE You Don’t Want To Miss

If you’re a government lawyer or a lawyer whose practice intersects with the government, then there is one CLE you cannot afford to miss this year: the NCBA’s Nov. 16-17 CLE entitled “The Only Constant is Change: 2017 Legislative, Executive and Judicial Updates.”

Let me give you two reasons why you need to sign up now, if you aren’t signed up already:

First, the CLE features an all-star cast of speakers from all three branches of government.  These speakers include Supreme Court justices, Court of Appeals judges, and the recently retired Speaker Pro Tempore of the North Carolina House of Representatives.  Simply put, there is no more qualified group of individuals than these current and former public officials to speak about the sweeping changes that our state government and local governments have experienced in the past year.

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