Publications and Blogs


The Local Government Board Builders Series offers local elected leaders practical advice on how to effectively lead and govern.

Blogs about local government:

o   Community and Economic Development

For a complete list of School of Government publications, visit our Publications page.


Budgeting in Difficult Times: Resources for North Carolina Managers
Gordon Whitaker
Saturday, April 11, 2015

Preparing a balanced budget for FY 2012 is particularly challenging for city and county managers across North Carolina. Stagnant or declining revenues, often combined with growing public service needs, require mangers to explore new alternatives and to be innovative. In these difficult times, communicating clearly and effectively with boards, citizens, and staff can also pose unprecedented challenges. This guide provides links to articles, bulletins, online dashboards, group exercises, videos, webinars, and other materials created by School of Government faculty and staff members that will prove useful to managers dealing with budgeting in this current economy. If you are accessing the PDF version of this guide online, click on the title of the resource to access it. Links are also provided following each entry.

County and Municipal Government in North Carolina, Second Edition, 2014 (Hard Copy Format)
Frayda S. Bluestein
Wednesday, February 11, 2015

This reference book on North Carolina county and municipal government provides a comprehensive treatment of the legal foundations, organization, and the administration of the state's counties and cities. This book describes the legal framework and common administrative practices that are currently in use and explains what counties and cities in North Carolina do, and how they do it.

County and Municipal Government in North Carolina is designed to meet the needs of elected and appointed county and city board members and the employees who, on a day-to-day basis, carry out the functions mandated and authorized for North Carolina local governments. It will also appeal to citizens, civic leaders, high school and college students, state employees, legislators, members of the media, and any others who need basic information about the legal authority and responsibilities of North Carolina counties and cities.

This edition will also be available for purchase in its entirety as a PDF file, or you may buy individual chapters in PDF format.

Ethics, Conflicts, and Offices: A Guide for Local Officials, Second Edition
A. Fleming Bell, II
Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Since this esteemed text was first published in 1997, the General Assembly of North Carolina has made important revisions to conflicts of interest law as well as enacted a law requiring local governments to adopt a code of ethics and local elected officials to receive ethics training and an ethics and lobbying law that, though intended for state officials, has important implications for local governments. This new edition of Ethics, Conflicts, and Offices greatly expands and updates the first version to reflect these significant changes in the law.

Also updated are discussions of ethics in public life, multiple and incompatible office-holding, and legal cases, and numerous sample codes of ethics that can be used as guides in drafting local codes of conduct.

"Ethics, Conflicts, and Offices: A Guide to Local Officials is a valuable and timely resource for new and experienced local government officials as they strive to comply with the letter and spirit of their ethical obligations. It provides a thoughtful, in-depth analysis of the philosophical, legal, and practical aspects of ethics in public life, and helpful guidance on key issues such as conflicts of interest, multiple office-holding, and drafting an ethics code."

Kimberly Hibbard
General Counsel
North Carolina League of Municipalities

"Fleming Bell has done it again. The second edition of Ethics, Conflicts, and Offices is important reading for public officials, government staff, and government attorneys. Bell writes clearly and engagingly and offers true-to-life scenarios about ethics challenges that may face government officials and staff. As a result, he draws readers into deeper reflection about the interplay of ethical principles and relationships. 

Whether you want deeper insight about core principles underlying 'public ethics' or a quick refresher on the evolution and current legal requirements relating to conflicts of interest, confidentiality, and dual office-holding, this is the book for you. I know I'll value it as part of my own library."

Judith Welch Wegner
Burton Craige Professor of Law and Dean emerita
The University of North Carolina School of Law

"We live in a time of intense scrutiny of the behavior of those in public service, and in a time of concerted efforts to restore trust between those who govern and those who are governed. For these reasons, it is particularly important that we attend to and try to understand the principles, standards, and ideals discussed in this book. All of us who serve in elective or appointed positions of public service, and those who contemplate such service, should be prepared to analyze these principles and their underlying premises."

James B. Blackburn
Legislative Counsel (Retired)
North Carolina Association of County Commissioners

Coates' Cannons: NC Local Government Law
January, 2015
Local Government in North Carolina, Fourth Edition, 2012
Gordon Whitaker
Wednesday, June 6, 2012

North Carolina’s counties, cities, towns, and villages affect your life in many ways. Local governments:

  • supply the water you drink and dispose of the trash you throw away.
  • provide police and fire protection.
  • operate parks and libraries.
  • assist people in need.
  • work to bring new jobs to your community.
  • regulate how land is used and enforce state and local laws.

This resource describes how local governments serve your community and how you can help your local government build the kind of community you want to live in.

lgnc-pdf(1).pdf (pdf, 24.14 MB)
Public Officials - Local and State Government Roles
Topics - Local and State Government