With Cannon out, Charlotte will go about two years without an elected mayor? Should there be a special election?
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Anything can happen Monday, said a Charlotte city council member and former mayor, as the council takes up the job of replacing a mayor who resigned amid corruption charges.
Patsy Kinsey stepped up as mayor when Anthony Foxx resigned to become U.S. Transportation Secretary. Now she must help choose who will fill out a nearly 20-month term vacated by Patrick Cannon after he was arrested Wednesday.
"Disappointment, anger, the whole gamut," is what Kinsey said she feels following Cannon's arrest. But she sees the importance of moving quickly -- but not too quickly -- to fill the post.
"I think we have a lot of fences to mend," said Kinsey said about the next mayor. "I think we have a lot of bridges to build, and I think we have some morale to lift, so i'm looking for someone who can be a people-person."
Kinsey expects to "start the process" of selecting a new mayor at Monday's council meeting, but doesn't expect to vote on someone to take the job. Council members have asked City Attorney Bob Hagemann to outline a procedure for them to use.
One thing that weighs on their minds, said Kinsey, is that whoever is chosen will serve almost an entire term. By law, their choice must be a Charlotte resident, who is 21 and Democrat.
Mayor Pro-Tem Michael Barnes echoed Kinsey's thoughts about a "process" on NBC Charlotte Flashpoint Sunday.
"What we're hoping to do this week is enter into a discussion about the process and decide who the mayor should be," said Barnes. "We may pick someone this week, I don't know -- but we're gonna get the process started."
Barnes has said he is not interested in being mayor right now.
Republican council member Ed Driggs said the process is an important part in moving the city beyond the corruption scandal.
"We've got to shore up confidence in government, figure out a procedure to hire a successor -- someone to serve in the interim," said Driggs. "All these go through your mind."
Council member Greg Phipps told NBC Charlotte that Monday is "too soon" to pick a successor for Cannon's seat. He said whoever the council chooses has to be "familiar with the issues," have "the highest moral integrity," and "an impeccable record of community service."
Phipps said he didn't have any personal favorites, but would like some community input.
Flashpoint panelists State Sen. Joel Ford and Eric Spanberg of the Charlotte Business Journal both agreed that Charlotte's form of government -- council-manager, as opposed to "strong mayor" -- allows the city to continue day-to-day business despite the loss of its mayor.
"Mayor is not a powerful position but it is a bully pulpit with influence and connections," said Spanberg.
Kinsey said she believes the council would like to take a week -- but no more than two -- to choose its next mayor.
"I think it's important to show the community we're moving ahead," she said.
But also acknowledged that any idea with six votes can pass -- even if means a new mayor is chosen Monday.
"Anything could happen," she said.