Officials vote to proceed with censure against Waxhaw mayor

Officials vote to proceed with censure against Waxhaw mayor


by RAD BERKY / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @RadBerkywcnc

Posted on June 25, 2013 at 11:20 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 2 at 8:00 PM

WAXHAW, N.C. -- Commissioners in Waxhaw voted Tuesday night to begin censure proceedings against Mayor Daune Gardner following Gardner's second arrest on a charge of driving while impaired.

Gardner sat silently at the commission meeting where speakers berated her for brining shame on herself and the city of Waxhaw.

Resident Robert Parker told the mayor, "You need help.  You've got a drinking problem, Ms. Gardner."

Gardner was arrested June 10 by Waxhaw police, who said her car crossed the center line of NC Highway 16 several times.

She had been arrested once before on a DUI charge in South Carolina in 2008.  She has said she was not convicted.

Commissioners voted to begin censure proceedings and the city will hire an attorney to do the preliminary investigation.  There will be a public hearing at some point before the formal censure vote.

Commissioner Joyce Blythe called on Gardner to step down.

"She has become a liability to the town of Waxhaw in my opinion and we can't tolerate it anymore," said Blythe.

Blythe, along with Commissioner Brett Diller, said enough is enough.
"I think it would be best for the town, the town people, the board, everyone involved if she would resign," said Commissioner Diller.
"This has happened before, and she was warned before, and she hasn’t heeded those warnings," said Bylthe.

While Gardner did not speak directly about the issue at the meeting, she issued a statement earlier in the day saying she would not resign.

In the written statement, Gardner said, "I will continue to perform my duties as your mayor with the same vigor, grace, and poise as should be required of any elected official."

Commissioner Michael Stewart said he did not believe he should have to ask Gardner to resign from office.

"I believe anyone with an ounce of shame, dignity, or respect for themselves, the town, or the people they represent would have already done so," he said.

Gardner is due in court in August to answer to the DWI charge.

NBC Charlotte obtained the letter Gardner sent out to her friends and colleagues. The letter, dated June 24, reads as follows:

Dear friends,

As you may know, on 9 June I was accused of a traffic law violation.  Those accusations are being addressed through our legal system as is done for any other citizen of our state and town.

Please remember that anyone is innocent until proven otherwise.  I am and will follow proper, legal process. My lack of response until now is based upon advice most receive in this type of situation and has been intended to allow an objective and fair approach to the circumstances.  The system must be allowed to work for me just as it would for any one of you.

It is within the scope of the responsibilities of the board of commissioners to explore any potential violation of the town’s ethics policy.  However, any findings, regardless of the situation, should be based on one’s performance of official duties and not subjected to hearsay, rumors, innuendo, or libelous or slanderous statements.

I want to make it clear that I do not intend to leave the position that the citizens of Waxhaw elected me to fulfill.  Rest assured that I will continue to perform my duties as your mayor with the same vigor, grace and poise as should be required of any elected official.

I would like to express my sincere thanks to those who have offered words of encouragement and support and who have spoken up on my behalf because they know my character, accomplishments and vision for the town of Waxhaw.

Daune Gardner

Mayor of Waxhaw, North Carolina