City leaders vote down discussing New Bern mayor controversy - WNCN: News, Weather

City leaders vote down discussing New Bern mayor controversy

Posted: Updated:

At the first Alderman meeting since New Bern mayor Lee Bettis' controversial week, city leaders decided not to talk about it.

Mayor Pro-tem Sabrina Bengel asked if they should vote on whether to add the issue to Tuesday night's agenda.

They voted, and it was voted down 4-2.

Alderman Dana Outlaw and Alderman Victor Taylor voted to discuss the issue the others said no.

Mayor Bettis was not present at the meeting. In a letter to the other aldermen, he said he would be missing the next couple of meetings, possibly up to six weeks.

---Previous Story---

A meeting to discuss the state of New Bern's mayor will not go on as planned today.

Last week a second New Bern alderman made it clear he wanted to talk about the effects Bettis' personal troubles are having on the city.
Alderman Dana Outlaw said fellow Alderman Victor Taylor requested a special meeting to discuss Bettis.
A scheduling conflict prevented the meeting from happening today.
Now, Outlaw is asking his fellow aldermen to add the Mayor Bettis situation to the agenda for Tuesday's city aldermen meeting
Mayor Lee Bettis sent a letter to city aldermen this weekend, saying he will not be taking a leave of absence.

Bettis said his "time away" will only be for up to six weeks, instead of the two months originally announced by Bettis' spokesperson last Thursday.

In his email Bettis said, "To be clear, I am not taking a leave of absence, but I want to inform you that I will not be at the meetings for the next several weeks."

Bettis listed specific reasons as to why he will not be attending the meetings, calling himself a "negative distraction" taking away from the many great things his team has accomplished for the city.  He also cited poor physical health and the need for time alone with his family to rest.

"I'm ready to get this city back on track," said Outlaw, who called for the mayor to step down after Bettis came under fire last week following a DWI charge on Monday and his wife calling 911 on him around 2 o'clock Wednesday morning, reporting he assaulted her in their Beaufort home.

Outlaw said then that Bettis' troubles are creating a distraction in city government.

"We need to get this behind us. We need to get back to running the city. The city of New Bern deserves better than this," said Outlaw.

Bettis' troubles include a reported "domestic" altercation that happened Wednesday morning around 2:10 a.m.

The Carteret County Sheriff's Office said deputies responded to a 911 call about the incident that previously occurred on Gatesy Lane in Beaufort.

Deputies said the 911 call was made by Mrs. Nicole Bettis, who reported an altercation at the residence with her husband Lee Bettis. Deputies spoke with Mrs. Bettis who said she didn't suffer an injuries and deputies said they didn't see any visible signs of assault. 

In the 911 tape, Nicole told the dispatcher it all started because she was avoiding him by sleeping in another room.

Dispatcher: "Carteret County 911, what's the address of your emergency?"

Caller: "Um, my husband just left. He just pushed me down the stairs and choked me and took off. He's angry because he got pulled over. He doesn't want anyone driving my children to school, and I didn't support him on that because I told him not to drive my children to school."

Dispatcher: "Is there any court order or restraining order in place?"

Caller: "No, but there should have been."

Mrs. Bettis declined to prosecute Mr. Bettis for assault.  He then left the residence prior to the deputies arrival.

No charges or arrests were made in the incident.

If you're wondering why Bettis lives in Beaufort if he's the mayor of New Bern, the city spokeswoman says the mayor of New Bern only has to live in New Bern 30 days prior to his election, but after that, he doesn't have to live there anymore.

Earlier this week, Lee Bettis spoke out about his DWI charge, saying he was driving tired, not drunk or high on drugs. The mayor said his DWI charge has had a devastating impact on him and his family.

"When you blow a zero on a breathalyzer test, that should be the end of it," said Bettis.

Bettis was charged with DWI, failure to maintain lane control and, a designated lane violation after two people called 911 at 7:49 Monday morning saying that Bettis was driving erratically.

Officers spotted Bettis' vehicle and initiated a stop on the Chevrolet van traveling west on Highway 70 near the city limits. They identified the driver of the van as Bettis. Two minor children were passengers in the vehicle.

A police officer administered a field sobriety test on Bettis and found cause to arrest him for Driving While Impaired.

Bettis says the sobriety test consisted of him walking in a straight line, but due to his recent hip replacement surgery, and being hit by a bus in December, he was not able to walk straight.

He consented to a blood draw to be analyzed by the SBI lab for alcohol and any other controlled substances.

"This has been extremely difficult on my family," said Bettis.

His court date is set for July 18.

Powered by WorldNow

1205 Front St., Raleigh
N.C., 27609

Telephone: 919.836.1717
Fax: 919.836.1687

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.