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Garner ponders payment

BY Lorenzo Perez, Anne Blythe
01/04/2003
by Lorenzo Perez, Anne Blythe on 1/4/03.

The education task force that Garner Mayor Sam Bridges
assembled with Cary Mayor Glen Lang picked a consultant Thursday
night.
Garner's aldermen still haven't decided, however, whether they
want to help pay the consultant's $ 60,000 fee. The McKenzie
Group, a Washington, D.C. firm, was selected to help craft a
reform plan for Wake County Schools' student assignment policies.
The elected officials, along with parents' groups, are taking
a closer look at the school system's reassignment policies,
including student diversity.
The Cary Town Council has already agreed to use public money
to help pay the consultant's fee, but the same request got a
chillier response in Garner.
Bridges says he plans on making another pitch to his board at
its Jan. 21 meeting. Armed with more specifics about the
consultant's plans, Bridges said, he hopes to get a more
favorable response.
"Mayor Lang and I talked about that briefly last night,"
Bridges said Friday. "And neither of us want the Town of Cary to
have to pay for the consultant on its own. So I'm going to really
work as hard as I can to persuade our board."
After attending Thursday's task force meeting, Garner alderman
Graham Singleton said his position has shifted on using town
money for the consultant.
"I'm much more open to it now than I was before," he said.
NATIONAL NOTORIETY: ABC News crews were in Carrboro the week
before Christmas asking a lot of questions of the mayor and
several aldermen.
The news team was preparing a segment on the federal Patriot
Act and the strong stand the seven-member Board of Aldermen took
last June. At a time when towns and cities across the country
were passing resolutions "urging federal authorities to respect
the civil rights of local citizens when fighting terrorism," the
Carrboro aldermen went a step further.
They directed the town police department to continue to
preserve residents' civil rights even if federal law enforcement
officers, acting under the Patriot Act, authorized or requested
such an infringement.
The news crews asked Carrboro officials whether their action
was merely a symbolic gesture. "They were just asking: 'Why
Carrboro? What is it about this town? Does it really make a
difference?'" said Alderman Mark Dorosin.
On Dec. 23, several days after the TV news crews were in town,
The New York Times published a story about the issue and gave
Carrboro a prominent mention. The TV segment has not aired yet.
One of the aldermen received an e-mail from a producer saying the
news crews had not yet been able to interview Justice Department
officials.
Stay tuned.
POLITICAL TRAIL
- RALEIGH MAYOR CHARLES MEEKER will hold his monthly run with
constituents at 8 a.m. today at Shelley Lake in Raleigh.
- THE WAKE COUNTY CHAPTER OF N.C. CITIZENS FOR A SOUND ECONOMY
will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday at N.C. State University's McKimmon
Center and hear from new Wake County commissioners about plans
for the coming year and the county budget.

GRAPHIC: Bridges has specifics he will present to the Board of Aldermen.

LOAD-DATE: January 4, 2003