What does local government do?
Local governments in North Carolina provide a number of services to their residents. These services might include things like water and sewer service, police and fire protection, garbage collection and recycling, transportation and transit services, parks and recreation, and land use planning.
Local governments in North Carolina do not have authority over K-12 schools. Local school boards oversee K-12 school policy instead.
In North Carolina, local governments can only provide the services that the North Carolina state government has explicitly authorized them to carry out. In other words, without state authorization, cities cannot take a particular action or provide a particular service.
What is our local government structure?
Chapel Hill and Carrboro are separate towns with separate town governments. Orange County (including Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Hillsborough, and certain unincorporated areas) has its own government and elected officials.
Chapel Hill is governed by a mayor and eight members of the Chapel Hill Town Council, including a Mayor pro tem. The Mayor serves a two-year term. Council Members serve four-year terms. Elections are held in odd-numbered years and are non-partisan.
Carrboro is governed by a mayor and six members of the Carrboro Town Council, including a Mayor pro tem. The Mayor serves a two-year term. Council Members serve four-year terms. Elections are held in odd-numbered years and are non-partisan.
What is a Mayor pro tem? A Mayor pro tem is the Council Member who helps the Mayor run meetings. They have no special powers other than that. The Mayor pro tem switches every two years, and is usually the most senior Council Member who has not served as Mayor pro tem in the past.
Both Chapel Hill and Carrboro use the council-manager form of government. Under this form of government, the mayor and governing board set government policy, which is then implemented by a professional town manager, who oversees town operations and supervises professional town staff.
Orange County is governed by seven County Commissioners, including a Chair and a Vice Chair. Two Commissioners are members at-large, three represent District 1 (Chapel Hill and Carrboro), and two represent District 2 (Hillsborough and unincorporated areas). Commissioners serve four-year terms. Elections are held in even-numbered years and are partisan.
You can learn more about local governments in North Carolina from the North Carolina League of Municipalities.
Who are our local elected officials?
Mayor Pam Hemminger (since 2015; term ends 2023)
Mayor pro tem Karen Stegman (Council Member since 2017, Mayor pro tem since 2021; term ends 2025)
Council Member Jessica Anderson (since 2015; term ends 2023)
Council Member Camille Berry (since 2021; term ends 2025)
Council Member Tai Huynh (since 2019; term ends 2023)
Council Member Paris Miller-Foushee (since 2021; term ends 2025)
Council Member Michael Parker (since 2015; term ends 2023)
Council Member Amy Ryan (since 2019; term ends 2023)
Council Member Adam Searing (since 2021; term ends 2025)
Mayor Damon Seils (since 2021; term ends 2023)
Mayor pro tem Susan Romaine (Council Member since 2019, Mayor pro tem since 2021; term ends 2023)
Council Member Barbara Foushee (since 2017; term ends 2025)
Council Member Randee Haven-O’Donnell (since 2005; term ends 2025)
Council Member Danny Nowell (since 2021; term ends 2025)
Council Member Eliazar Posada (since 2022*; term ends 2023)
Council Member Sammy Slade (since 2009; term ends 2023)
*Council Member Posada was elected in a Special Election in May, 2022 to finish Damon Seils’s term after Seils was elected Mayor in 2021.
Chair Renée Price, District 2 (Commissioner since 2012, Chair since 2020; term ends 2022**)
Vice Chair Jamezetta Bedford, District 1 (Commissioner since 2018, Vice Chair since 2020; term ends 2022)
Commissioner Amy Fowler, At Large (since 2020; term ends 2024)
Commissioner Sally Greene, At Large (since 2018; term ends 2022)
Commissioner Jean Hamilton, District 1 (since 2020; term ends 2024)
Commissioner Earl McKee, District 2 (since 2010; term ends 2022)
Commissioner Anna Richards, District 1 (since 2021***; term ends 2024)
**Chair Price received the Democratic nomination for NC House District 50 in May, 2022 and will assume that office in January, 2023 (she faces no opponent in the general election). Her replacement will be appointed by the Board of County Commissioners.
***Commissioner Richards was appointed in 2021 to finish Mark Dorosin’s term after Dorosin moved out of Orange County.