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Charlotte city council votes to delay mayoral decision

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

The Charlotte City Council has voted to delay voting for a new mayor for the city and will hold the vote on April 7 during its regularly scheduled meeting.

The vote was unanimous.

"A number of council members have expressed an interest in providing some time between tonight's legal discussion and any votes," said Mayor Pro Tem Michael Barnes.  "This is one of the more important decisions that we will make, and each of us needs to have the opportunity to reflect, to talk with potential candidates and to talk with constituents."

North Carolina law requires that any vacancy in a city's elective office be filled by appointment of its city council. 

To be eligible a candidate must be at least 21-years-old, reside within the city's limits and be a registered member of the same political party as the person being replaced in this case a Democrat.

The person appointed will replace former Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon, who resigned on Wednesday, and will serve the remainder of the unexpired term.

Cannon was arrested last Wednesday on federal corruption charges and resigned eight hours later.

Names of potential replacements for Cannon started to emerge shortly after his resignation.
 
"I'm sure they've been talking about it all weekend," said Dr. Susan Roberts, a political science professor at Davidson College. "If not they should have been."

Dr. Roberts said the next person to step into the Mayor's office better be ready for it.

"It may be a part-time position but it's a full time commitment," she said.

It will take six votes by city council members to agree on a new Mayor and if they're not ready Roberts suggests they take their time.

"The last thing they want to do is wrangle in public."

That means looking at all possible replacement before leaders rush into a decision and the list is getting longer.

"I think Jennifer Roberts has been a very fine leader," said Roberts, who says the former chair of County Council is gaining support on social media.

"Dan Clodfelter is very well regarded," said Roberts.

Clodfelter is an eight-term state senator. Roberts said Clodfelter has the big picture draw for Charlotte's future.

The political science professor says Patsy Kinsey is another solid choice, "because she has done it and expressed interest in doing it after Mayor Cannon was elected."

Roberts says James Mitchell has support to go along with his interest.

And the professor classifies Vi Lyles, a freshman at-large council member, as an interesting alternative with a "fresh face."

Whoever it turns out to be, Roberts said experience and trust are paramount.

"They need to appoint someone who gets pretty immediate sense of trust," said Roberts. "I'm one to think there may not be a wrong choice that they have a lot of good choices."

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