Charlotte’s new Mayor Pro Tem
As I have been pondering what topic to write about this week, it becomes clear to me that are so many important subjects on which I have an opinion. The most timely to me today is the election of Mayor Pro Tem tonight at the swearing in of the new Council and Mayor. Traditionally, Mayor Pro Tem goes to the top vote- getter of the dominant party. Last year was an aberration because Julie Eiselt who secured the majority vote at large, relinquished the title to Vi Lyles who came in second. As Julie conveyed to me, she didn’t feel experienced enough then to be Mayor Pro Tem. After all this was her first run at political office.
However, this year Julie wants the job and since she was top vote- getter one more time, she should have it. The Mayor Pro Tem position is elected by her City Council colleagues tonight at the dais. Suddenly , in comes James Mitchell, who came in third at large, vying for the position. He has been jockeying for the appointment and trying to line up votes for himself to serve as Mayor Pro Tem. But he was not the majority vote -getter at large.
I served on the Council with James for six years and think the world of him. I too was caught up in the vote for Mayor Pro Tem four different times, but was only elected once because the Democrats held the majority all but one time. (at the time I was a registered Republican, though I am unaffiliated now.) And in one instance I was 6,000 votes ahead of the second vote- getter who at the time was Susan Burgess. The one time the Republicans captured the majority and I was top vote- getter at large. Don Reid who was on the Council at the time stated publicly he was going to vote for Al Rousseau, a Democrat, and second highest vote- getter. At the time of the vote, Don voted for me. I assume the Republican party got on his case.
City Council. Let Julie Eiselt be Mayor Pro Tem. It is rightfully hers and it is the right thing to do. Ask yourself, does it benefit the City of Charlotte with all the pressing issues the Council faces, to begin this new term with acrimony over Mayor Pro Tem? And even better, make it a unanimous vote.