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First name: Nancy photo
Last name: Oates
Phone: 919-942-0964
Web site:
Address: 101 Windemere Crossing
City, state zip: Chapel Hill, NC 27516

Term of Service: 2015-2019

Nancy E. Oates was elected to the Chapel Hill Town Council in November 2015.

A freelance writer and editor in the Triangle since 1997, Oates concentrates on writing and editing for specialty magazines, newspapers, university publications and corporate communications, writing features, profiles and news articles. In 2009, she launched the Chapel Hill Watch political blog (

Oates grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, after short stints in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Ypsilanti, Mich. She moved to New York as a teenager, received her bachelor’s degree from New York University and her master’s degree from Columbia University’s Teacher’s College. She was a probation and parole officer in the state and federal courts, then oversaw the statewide roll-out of an alternative-to-incarceration pilot program for the State of New York. In 1996, she moved to Chapel Hill.

While her son and daughter were students in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, Oates volunteered in the classroom and the PTA Thrift Shop and in the IFC shelter kitchen. She was a Girl Scout leader and a Popcorn Kernel, managing the annual Boy Scout popcorn sale for several years while her son was a Cub Scout and Boy Scout. She has held leadership positions on boards and committees at University Presbyterian Church, where she is a longtime member.


  • Community Home Trust
  • Council Committee on Affordable Housing
  • Council Committee on Economic Sustainability
  • Justice in Action Committee
  • Mayor's Committee on Affordable Rental Housing Strategy
  • Orange County Partnership to End Homelessness
  • Orange Water and Sewer Authority (Interview Committee)
  • Public Transit Partners
  • Triangle J Council of Governments Board of Delegates (alternate)


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.