Charlotte City Council could pick new mayor on Monday

sharrison@charlotteobserver.com jmorrill@charlotteobserver.comMarch 27, 2014 

Charlotte City Council members are poised to select a new mayor as early as Monday – and could go outside their own ranks to do it.

A Democratic state senator threw his name into the mix Thursday, a day after Democrat Patrick Cannon’s sudden resignation after his arrest on federal corruption charges.

The council is scheduled to consider the vacancy at 6 p.m. Monday and could vote on someone that night.

Council members must pick a city resident who’s a Democrat, the same party as Cannon. The new mayor will serve through December 2015, the remainder of Cannon’s term.

Mayor Pro Tem Michael Barnes, the council’s highest-ranking member, said he’s not pursuing the job but would take it if offered.

“If the council said, ‘We want you to finish it out,’ I would consider it,” he said. “But am I seeking it or vying for it? No.”

Democratic Sen. Dan Clodfelter considered running last year but instead backed Cannon’s primary opponent, James Mitchell.

“If the council were interested in considering me, I would certainly give it very, very serious consideration,” he said.

Other elected officials who could be picked include Democratic at-large members David Howard and Vi Lyles, a freshman council member and former assistant city manager.

The process for picking a new mayor will be the same as in 2013, when Anthony Foxx stepped down to become U.S. secretary of transportation.

When Foxx resigned, council members elevated District 1 council member Patsy Kinsey to be mayor. Kinsey served from July until December.

She declined to say whether she’d like to be mayor again.

“That’s not on my radar screen,” Kinsey said Wednesday. “I’m concerned about the city and how to get past this. We’ll work through it and we’ll be OK, because we’ve got good people leading the city.”

In an interview during her final days in office, Kinsey said she enjoyed being mayor and suggested she would continue in the job if allowed.

Howard declined to comment Wednesday on whether he would want the job. If the council appoints one of its own, it would then appoint a replacement for that official.

Some council members said they want to name Cannon’s replacement soon.

“The most important part … is having a mayor that understands this is about the community,” Lyles said. “And this is about good and open government. We’ve got to have a leader who understands the dynamic that trust has been broken, and we’ve got to keep going.”

Harrison: 704-358-5160

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