Mayor of Chapel Hill: 2013-2015 (2009-2011, 2011, 2013)
Chapel Hill Town Council: 2001–2005, 2005–2009
Mark Kleinschmidt has served on the Chapel Hill Town Council since December 2001. He is Chapel Hill's first openly gay Mayor and when elected to the Council, was the fifth openly-gay North Carolinian to be elected in the state's history. Kleinschmidt was elected to his current position as Mayor in 2009, reelected in 2011 and again in 2013. He is proud to be the first Mayor elected through the town's former publicly financed Voter Owned Elections (VOE) program.
Born at Scott Air Force Base in Belleville, Ill., Mayor Kleinschmidt lived in Hawaii and New Mexico before moving to Goldsboro, N.C., at the age of 10. Mark resided in Goldsboro until 1988 when he left to attend UNC. Having moved around the country in a military family, Kleinschmidt considers his first experience with UNC and the surrounding community transformative, and as a result claims Chapel Hill as his hometown.
The Mayor began his career as a teacher. After graduating as a member of UNC's first Teaching Fellows class in 1992, he served as a social studies teacher at West Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte. In 1997, after being named by his peers as "Teacher of the Year," Kleinschmidt returned to Carolina to pursue a Law degree. Throughout his career, the Mayor has dedicated his life to public service. In 2000 Mark became a staff attorney at the Center for Death Penalty Litigation, representing indigent clients that faced execution throughout the state of North Carolina. In October of 2006 Kleinschmidt took the position of executive director of the Fair Trial Initiative (FTI). At FTI he represented several North Carolina capital defendants in post-conviction litigation in addition to recruiting and mentoring young attorneys in their development towards becoming practicing capital trial attorneys. Most recently in 2012, Mayor Kleinschmidt opened a Chapel Hill office with the law firm Tin Fulton Walker Owen. Tin Fulton Walker Owen is based out of Charlotte and specializes primarily in criminal law and civil rights advocacy.
Throughout his professional life, the Mayor has served on numerous boards and organizations, including the North Carolina American Civil Liberties Union, serving as President 2008-2009; the International Network of Lesbian and Gay Officials; the North Carolina Democratic Party and Equality NC.
Mayor Kleinschmidt spends his free time with friends and family. His father, Jim Kleinschmidt, is a retired U.S. Air Force chief master sergeant and his mother, Marge Kleinschmidt, is a retired registered nurse. He has a twin sister, Michelle Kleinschmidt-Hoover, who lives locally on the Durham County side of town with her husband Greg. Mark’s niece Asia Marie is a student at UNC Charlotte, class of 2015.
- Council Committee on Boards and Commissions
- Downtown Partnership Board
- Mayor’s Committee on Council Communication
- NC Metropolitan Mayors Coalition
- Transportation Advisory Committee for the Durham-Chapel Hill Urbanized Area
The primary mission of the Mayor and Council, as the governing body of the Town, is to adopt and provide for the execution of ordinances, rules and regulations as may be necessary or appropriate to protect health, life or property, or to promote the comfort, convenience, security, good order, better government, or the general welfare of the Town and its citizens.
The Mayor and eight Council Members constitute the governing body of the Town. In accordance with the Town’s Charter, the voters elect a Mayor every two years. Council Members are elected to four-year, staggered terms on an at-large basis. Town Council duties include:
- Amendment of previously adopted policies through changes in the Town Code of Ordinances and the Development Ordinance, and by revision of policies and documents.
- Appointment of advisory boards, commissions, task forces and committees.
- Appointment of the Town Manager and Town Attorney.
- Establishment of agreements with other governments.