North Carolina Department of Justice
North Carolina Department of Justice
North Carolina Department of Justice
Submit this request

August 2, 1978 Public Offices, Constitutional Law; Double Office Holding; Counties, Municipalities; Police Officer Elected as County Commissioner, Article VI, Section 9, North Carolina Constitution;

Subject:

 

G.S. 160A-284; G.S. 128-1.1.

Requested By: Paul S. Messick, Jr. Town Attorney

 

Question: May a town policeman hold concurrently an elective office.?

 

Conclusion: No.

 

Article VI, Section 9 of the North Carolina Constitution provides that no person shall hold concurrently any two or more appointive offices or any combination of elective and appointive offices except as the General Assembly shall provide by general law.

Thus with specific authority from the General Assembly, no person could hold an elective and appointive office concurrently.

On June 30, 1971, the General Assembly enacted Chapter 697, Session Laws of 1971 which contained G.S. 128-1.1, and which authorizes "any person who holds an elective office in State or local government to hold concurrently one other appointive office . . . in State or local government . . .".

Also, on June 30, 1971, the General Assembly enacted Chapter 698, Session Laws of 1971, which contained G.S. 160A-284, and which authorizes a policeman, a chief of police and auxiliary policemen to hold concurrently any other appointive office pursuant to Article VI, Section 9 of the Constitution. In 1975, G.S. 160A-284 was amended to permit an auxiliary policeman to hold concurrently any elective office.

Statutes dealing with the same subject matter must be construed in pari materia, and harmonized, if possible, to give effect to each. Where one statute deals with the subject matter in detail with reference to a particular situation and another statute deals with the same subject matter in general terms, the particular statute controls unless it appears that the General Assembly intended to make the general act controlling. 12 Strong's N.C. Index 3d Statutes, Sec. 5.

Applying the rules of statutory construction, and the rule of ascertaining the legislative intent, it is our opinion that G.S. 160A-284 is the controlling statute and that a policeman other than an auxiliary policeman, is not authorized to hold concurrently an elective office.

Thus should the person in question be elected to the office of County Commissioner, he would, upon acceptance of said office, be disqualified to serve as a municipal police officer.

Rufus L. Edmisten Attorney General

James F. Bullock Senior Deputy Attorney General