McLean, former EC mayor, dies


Then Mayor Roger McLean finishes signing some documents on his last day in office in December 2011. McLean died Wednesday, a local funeral home reported.


Jon Hawley
Staff Writer

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Former Elizabeth City Mayor Roger McLean has died.

McLean, 66, passed away at WakeMed Hospital in Raleigh on Wednesday, according to Rivers Community Funeral Home, the funeral home handling his arrangements.

McLean served as mayor from 2009 to 2011, becoming the city’s second African-American mayor. He was the owner of R.A. McLean and Associates, an accounting and higher education consulting firm, according to a city-provided biography. He previously had served as vice chancellor for business and finance at Elizabeth City State University.

City officials and friends described McLean on Wednesday as a strong advocate for the city and ECSU, and said he will be missed.

“We have lost a pillar of the community,” commented 3rd Ward Councilor Michael Brooks, who served on council during McLean’s two-year term as mayor.

Brooks recalled McLean that showed a ”passion” for bringing down electrical rates that had long pained city residents. He noted McLean successfully pushed for a rate reduction in 2010. City council unanimously voted for a 1.65 percent rate reduction in January 2010, according to city documents.

Second Ward City Councilor Tony Stimatz expressed ”shock” that McLean had died. McLean had remained active in the community and had recently appeared at ECSU events, Stimatz said. The former mayor seemed fine at the time, he said.

Stimatz indicated he didn’t always agree with how McLean handled electrical issues, but praised him for ”sticking to his guns” in pursuing rate reductions. He also said he felt McLean had presided over council meetings fairly as mayor.

After the NC Eastern Municipal Power Agency raised members’ electric rates by 18 percent in 2009, McLean suggested in 2010 that the city stop buying power from the agency — even if it triggered a lawsuit against the city. McLean eventually backed off that threat and tried to mend fences with NCEMPA officials, but continued to decry electrical rates he said were driving people out of the city.

Other city councilors who served with McLean could not reached for comment Wednesday, including Anita Hummer, Rickey King and Johnnie Walton.

Mayor Joe Peel, who defeated McLean in 2011’s mayoral race, had little comment Wednesday, stating simply that he knew and respected McLean.

Bishop Ernest Sutton, who has been active in city affairs, said Wednesday that he was friends with McLean and saddened at his passing. He was a ”real advocate” for ECSU, Sutton said.

Shortly after his loss to Peel in the 2011 election, McLean said felt the city had made strides during his term on stormwater drainage, youth activities and customer service.

McLean is survived by his wife, Wanda McLean, a local historian. According to the city’s biography of McLean, he had six children.