2018 Charlotte City Council Retreat
The Charlotte City Council is meeting at the Washington Duke Inn in Durham beginning today (Wednesday) through February 2 (Friday) for their annual retreat. For years the retreat is a two and half day segment of time for the Council to get away from family, work and other distractions to focus solely on developing together a vision and strategy for the future of the City of Charlotte. This year topics include growing our economic base, building great neighborhoods, investing in the community and connecting residents to job. Pretty meaty, I’d say.
It is also a time for Council Members, the Mayor and staff to fraternize in the evening over dinner, drinks and the like to acquaint themselves better with each other (I remember the Council retreats with Mayor Pat McCrory. Every evening he would set up several card tables in his room for poker .)
This Council is in dire need of this relationship building time. With five new Council Members….Braxton Winston, Larken Egleston, Tariq Bokhari, Justin Harlow ,Matt Newton all under the age of forty, and six who are veterans, Already after only months there appears to be a rift developing between the old and the new. It is imperative in my opinion that the Council start this two year term on firm footing and some semblance of trust. Of course, the city doesn’t benefit from milk toast agreement among the Council. However, good and hearty discussion is the hallmark of good governing and Lord knows Charlotte needs a dose of that.
This retreat could be a train wreck. My fingers are crossed that it isn’t. Charlotte needs a display of firm, wise leadership to steer our municipality of over 800,000 citizens to a continued prosperous future or there will be difficulty for them to govern..
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.