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Mike Woodard: Two Sides of Service

City councilman bridges Duke and Durham responsibilities

Durham city councilman Mike Woodard talks with children during last year's Eastway Village Neighborhood Festival.

By day, he's a Duke administrator. By night, he's a public servant.

He's not Batman, but Mike Woodard has a unique role in the Duke-Durham relationship. In addition to his job as an analyst for Duke's Administrative Systems Management office, he has also served as a Durham City Council member since 2005.

"I've lived in Durham for a long time and had been active in a lot of different volunteer groups around the city," said Woodard, who has been associated with Duke for more than 30 years, first as a student and now as an employee. "I thought I could really help make a difference by joining the council."

Woodard represents the Third Ward, which runs on the west side of Durham from south of Highway 54 up to Latta and Umstead roads.

Before he was elected to City Council, Woodard began a balancing act between Duke and Durham as a member on citizen committees like the Citizen Capital Improvement Panel, a group that examines the capital needs of the city and makes recommendations to the City Council about project funding.

He wanted to get involved with city organizations because it was important to be active in his community.

"I want to help make Durham a better city," he said.

Woodard said he's happy he can mix his love for Duke and Durham in his roles on campus and in the community. He is proud of being able to effect change spurred by his intimate knowledge of the city and university.

After two people were struck by cars at the intersection of Broad and Perry streets near East Campus in 2006, Woodard, then a new councilman, lobbied with success for city and state governments to install a stoplight.


"It was great just knowing how much it meant to the neighbors and Duke students," said Woodard, who earns an $18,835 annual city stipend for his council work."That was a good place where my Duke knowledge and love of Duke intersected with my city work because I knew how many students were coming across the street to go to Whole Foods or Ninth Street."

Finding balance between jobs for Duke and Durham hasn't been tough, despite late nights in his office at the American Tobacco Campus to finish work. Every two weeks for City Council, Woodard attends afternoon work sessions and evening business meetings. That doesn't include time outside meetings, talking with constituents and attending events around Durham, like park groundbreakings or neighborhood gatherings.

Durham Mayor Bill Bell said that he's impressed with Woodard's commitment to community activities and how he engages those around him. "You just always see him out in the community a lot," he said.