by: Jenna Deery Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The decision to appoint state senator and former Charlotte City Council member Dan Clodfelter as the city's new mayor came down an hour before Monday night's meeting, according to City Council members.
They were set on picking the next mayor themselves, despite several people calling for a special election.
After the opening prayer and Pledge of Allegiance, council called for public comments. Most of the comments came from people who wanted to vote for the next mayor in November.
"The people need to be given the opportunity to speak," said one speaker.
After hearing the comments, council called for a vote. Council members spent a week meeting with each other and the two contenders before making a decision.
Mayor Pro Tem Michael Barnes adamantly said none of the meetings were held illegally. The council is dealing with pending litigation in which a group claims members violated open meeting laws when discussing renovations at Bank of America Stadium.
Councilman at-large David Howard made a motion to vote for former City Council member and congressional candidate James Mitchell, even though he knew the votes weren't there.
Mitchell only had four votes when six were needed.
Everyone on council but Lawana Mayfield voted for Clodfelter. Mayfield felt Mitchell was the best choice because of his run in the mayor's race in the fall. He was the Democratic runner-up who fell to former Mayor Patrick Cannon.
"It's really about the electoral process but I will respect the wishes of my colleagues on this council," said Mayfield.
Council members said they wanted to show unity for someone they felt would move the city forward and patch relationships with lawmakers in Raleigh.
"He wants to be a part of the solution. He understands Raleigh because he is up there now," said Barnes.
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