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Charlotte council passes controversial proposal to expand city manager's purchasing powers

Currently, the city manager has the authority to buy items under $100,000 without council approval. The new measure raises the expenditure limit to half a million dollars.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte city council passed a controversial proposal to expand the city manager’s purchasing powers Monday night.

Some expressed concerns that it would allow the city manager to buy militarized equipment without council approval. 

Councilman Braxton Winston, who was opposed to the proposal, posted a Facebook video asking people to join the conversation.

“I’m inviting you to send us emails, make phone calls, but also come to the council meeting,” Winston said in the video.

Currently, the city manager has the authority to buy items under $100,000 without council approval. The new measure raises the expenditure limit to half a million dollars.

Robert Dawkins with Safe Coalition said certain purchases should require council oversight.

“Surveillance equipment used by CMPD, militarized equipment used by CMPD,” Dawkins previously told NBC Charlotte.

However, councilman James Mitchell said giving the city manager expanded authority will improve government efficiency.

“This is about trusting our city manager, who we just gave a great review,” Mitchell previously told NBC Charlotte.

The city council also voted to approve non-lethal weapons for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department. Winston said he dealt with those weapons personally, as a protester during Charlotte’s civil unrest.

“Low velocity, less than lethal force delivery systems, and I was subjected that,” Councilman Winston said.