One day after Mecklenburg County commissioners accused each other of sexism and racism, they're defending their words and saying this will not get in the way of dealing with the major decisions coming up.
They were at a regular meeting Tuesday when some started criticizing others. Commissioner George Dunlap criticized Commission Chair Pat Cotham. He said, "Your leadership is, talk to people who agree with you. Is that your leadership style?"
So Commissioner Vilma Leake accused Dunlap of sexism, saying, "How you feel and how you treat women."
Leake requested more security at meetings.
She also accused Commissioner Dumont Clarke of racism, saying, "You go back to the old times, as white men, sit in rooms and make decisions for poor people."
Wednesday, Leake told WSOC she meant it. "I meant every word of it. And I don't take it back. I meant it in my heart," she said.
The ways she sees it, this fight needed to happen, to clear the air and move forward. After all, they have to hire a county manager, figure out how to handle a $54 million budget shortfall, continue handling revaluation, hire a tax assessor, and improve controversy-plagued DSS.
Cotham said the commission's going to get these things done even if there's infighting along the way.
"There's too much work to be done for me to be worried about that. So I'm just going forward and if they want to keep throwing rocks at me, bring it on," she said.