Rowland awaits process for next mayor

By Mike Gellatly -

James Hampton

ROWLAND — The Rowland Board of Commissioners officially accepted Mayor James Hampton’s resignation Tuesday night and now awaits information from the county Board of Elections on how to replace him.

Hampton resigned Friday after serving 14 months of a four-year term. In his resignation letter, Hampton cited personal reasons for his departure. He has since accused the Rowland Police Department of mistreating him.

Rowland Police Chief John Reaves denies the accusation. Hampton came to his department to file a report about someone breaking into his home using a key, Reaves said. However, Hampton left before a formal report could be made.

Town leaders decided Tuesday to reach out to the Board of Elections to determine how they will find a new mayor. They could appoint someone to complete Hampton’s term or call for a special election. Municipal elections are scheduled for November. The two-week filing period begins July 7.

G.L. Pridgen, supervisor of the Robeson County Board of Elections, said his department will discuss options with Rowland leaders.

Hampton won a tight race for the mayor’s seat against incumbent Doris Elizabeth Hunt in November 2015. He was sworn in to a four-year term in December 2015.

In February 2016 the mayor was arrested on two counts of misdemeanor simple assault. Those two cases are to go to court in April.

Hampton was convicted of armed robbery in 1983 and served almost 10 years in prison in New York. He has also been convicted of burglary and grand larceny, according to New York State Department of Corrections record. In 2003 he was convicted of violating a protective order in Mecklenburg County, according to North Carolina Department of Public Safety records. He served probation for that offense.

James Hampton Hampton

By Mike Gellatly

Reach Mike Gellatly at 910-816-1989 or via Twitter @MikeGellatly

Reach Mike Gellatly at 910-816-1989 or via Twitter @MikeGellatly

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