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Some people upset after petiton to change Cape Carteret government format rejected

The petition would have led to a vote this November to change the town's form of government. (Nate Belt, NewsChannel 12 photo)

The town government in Cape Carteret rejected a petition from its citizens during Tuesday's meeting to change how the government is run.

The petition was started by Patricia Ruddiman. It would have led to a vote this November to change the town's form of government. The legal battle over the petition involved whether it was 30 or 31 days that signatures were gathered.

The state Board of Elections ruled the petition was valid but commissioners chose in Tuesday's meeting to disagree. That prevented putting a measure on the November ballot for citizens to vote on a possible change in the form of government. They also believe they have the legal right to reject the petition.

"We've got 21st century problems that need to be addressed by 21st century professional management," said Mayor David Fowler.

Citizens like Terri Ashby and Ruddiman feel like the public's voice has been taken away.

"I'm not necessarily opposed to it, but the way this has been brought about is suspect," Ashby said.

"The citizens of Cape Carteret are entitled to vote on this change of the charter and that was taken away from us," Ruddiman said.

The town also asked for sanctions against Carteret County Board of Elections Director Sharon Lewis for assisting the citizens in filing the petition. An email from the state elections board said Lewis was fulfilling her duties as director and did not warrant sanctions.

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