Special election petition started for new Charlotte mayor

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Charlotte leaders plan to start looking for the person who will replace former mayor Patrick Cannon Monday night.

Federal investigators arrested him last Wednesday morning after they said he accepted bribes for years, including once in the mayor’s office earlier this year.

Hours after he was arrested, Cannon resigned as mayor.

The grand jury doesn't meet until next week, which would be the earliest Cannon could be indicted.

Meanwhile, city leaders are trying to move Charlotte forward from the scandal. Their efforts start Monday night as they’ll try to pick a new mayor to serve the city for the next 21 months.

Charlotte leaders have said the process is an important step in regaining public trust.

The city has said again and again that the accusations against former mayor Cannon do not represent the way the city of Charlotte is run.

City Manager Ron Carlee told Channel 9 that the city is working with a crisis communication firm to keep people updated on developments.

He said Cannon's arrest has not hampered any projects the city is working on and he doesn't want city employees, or the people of Charlotte, to dwell on Cannon's resignation.

City leaders have said they are cooperating with investigators as they continue to look into Cannon.

Channel 9 has reached out to several potential candidates.

Former Mecklenburg County Commission chair Jennifer Roberts said she's interested and already has contacted council members to express her interest in filling the rest of Cannon's term.

State Senator Dan Clodfelter's name has also been mentioned.

Some say former city councilman James Mitchell should be the one to fill the office.

Channel 9 reached out to current council members but so far, nobody is interested.

Mayor pro-tem Michael Barnes has filled in for Cannon, but said he has no plans to seek the office.

The new mayor doesn't have to be an elected official, but does have to be a Democrat.

More than 200 Charlotte residents have signed a petition asking for a special election to find the next mayor.

The petition was started on Change.org, asking Charlotte City Council for a new election.

If you’d like to read or sign the petition, click here.

Another petition, supporting the selection of formerMecklenburg County commissioner Jennifer Roberts, has also been started and can be viewed here.