LAURINBURG — Matthew Block will not be sworn in today as planned, city officials announced on Monday.
Block’s swearing in has been postponed “due to an unforeseen medical matter,” the city said in a statement. A new date for the ceremony will be announced as soon as it has been rescheduled, the statement said.
Mayor Tommy Parker will continue to serve as mayor until the new mayor takes the oath, according to City Manager Charles Nichols.
“Under our rules, a council member shall hold an office until their successor is sworn in,” Nichols said. “Mayor Parker will continue to serve up until that time.”
Block, a cardiologist, could not be reached for comment. Messages left at his Laurinburg medical practice, Scotland Cardiology, were not returned Monday afternoon.
“We received an email that there was an unexpected medical issue,” Nichols said. “I haven’t had a chance to speak with him directly so I don’t know if the matter is personal or professional. But we let him know that we hope everything is OK.”
The oath of office was supposed to take place at noon today, with District Court Judge Christopher W. Rhue presiding over the swearing in of Block.
City officials said they still plan to hold swearing-in ceremonies for incumbent council members Mary Jo Adams and Curtis B. Leak. The ceremony is open to the public.
The council will also appoint a mayor pro tempore during today’s noon meeting. The mayor pro tem will also take the oath of office.
The ceremony, which is open to the public, will be held at the Laurinburg Municipal Building at 303 West Church St.
Block defeated Parker during the November municipal elections with nearly 60 percent of the vote. Block pledged that he would work to reduce utility rates and try to persuade council of the need for a recreation center rather than a new City Hall. He said he also wanted to involve more citizens in the political process and find innovative ways to enhance economic development.
Block, who served a previous term as mayor, also campaigned on his past performance — during which the city initiated input sessions for the public, formed the Laurinburg Beautification Committee, hired Ed Burchins as city manager, and increased the number of monthly city council meetings.