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Council talks protest plans in wake of Charlottesville violence
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Pembroke Councilman Johnnie Miller discussed concerns raised by some constituents regarding the protests that turned violent in Charlottesville, Virginia, at the Pembroke City Council meeting Monday evening.

“There was some concern in the neighborhood … you’ve seen the recent things happening in Virginia. One woman called my house wanting to know what kind of plan we had…” Miller said.  “I told her that our police officers have plans (in place).”

He noted that other people’s rights to assemble and to free speech also have to be protected.

“We as a council, whether we’re black, white, blue or green – we have to follow the Constitution,” he said. “People have a right to assemble. And we can’t deny people the right to assemble. People have the right to free speech.”

There was a brief discussion with input from Police Chief Randy Alexander, City Attorney Dana Braun and Mayor Judy Cook regarding the process for lawful assembly. Interested parties must apply with the city for a permit to assemble. Once the details of who is assembling and where are finalized, the police department then coordinates with the city to put a plan in place.

In other business, the Pembroke City Council is considering an amendment to the city’s charter that would do away with the need of multiple readings before the council can vote on a resolution.

“Under the (current) charter, all resolutions and all ordinances have to be read at least twice at two separate meetings before they can be voted on,” Braun said. “This amendment to the charter would make it that any resolution that doesn’t have the effect of an ordinance only needs one reading before it becomes enacted and enforced.”

The second reading for this resolution will take place at the next monthly meeting.

In other business:

The council also set the millage rate for 2018, which will remain at 10 mils.Bucket brigades were approved for the Bryan County High School Band Boosters to take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 4; and for American Legion Post 164 to take place from 1-6 p.m. Oct. 22.All FEMA projects related to damage caused by Hurricane Matthew have now been completed. Full reports on expenses and reimbursements will be forthcoming.The purchase of two firetrucks in the amount of $486,900 was approved.The dedication of the city gym will be held at 2 p.m. Sept. 10. 

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