Charlotte mayor arrested, city council to move forward
Tonight, Charlotte, N.C., city council members will consider how to replace former mayor Patrick Cannon, who resigned last Wednesday hours after being taken into custody by the FBI.
The council could potentially name a new mayor tonight, or vote to wait a week or two to allow candidates to formally apply, according to The Charlotte Observer.
“It’s so fluid right now,” at-lager council member Claire Fallon told the paper late Sunday afternoon. “[How to proceed] changes by the hour.”
According to a release from the Department of Justice, former mayor Cannon was arrested for alleged violations of federal public corruption laws. The criminal complaint charges Cannon with theft and bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds, honest services wire fraud and extortion under color of official right.
Hours after he was arrested, Cannon resigned as mayor, according to local news source, WSOC-TV. In the wake of the scandal, city leaders are trying to move forward with a replacement. The council will discuss the vacancy tonight at 6 p.m.
If they install a new Mayor, the council must pick a city resident who is a Democrat, the same party as Cannon. The new mayor will serve out the remainder of Cannon’s term, until December 2015, The Charlotte Observer reports.
Democratic State Senator Dan Clodfelter has already thrown his hat into the ring, according to The Charlotte Observer. Mayor Pro Tem Michael Barns, the council’s highest-ranking member, has not expressed interest in the job, but says he would take it should it be offered.
Other elected officials who could be picked, according to The Charlotte Observer, include Democratic at-large members David Howard and Vi Lyles.
Rather than having the council decide, WSOCTV reports more than 200 Charlotte residents have signed a petition asking for a special election to find the next mayor.
The options will be weighed tonight, but however the new mayor is chosen, Charlotte officials hope to begin regaining the community’s trust.
“The most important part… is having a mayor that understands this is about the community,” Lyles told The Charlotte Observer. “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.”