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Replacement plan set for Mayor Anthony Foxx

In the wake of his confirmation as the next U.S. secretary of transportation, Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx may attempt to call a special City Council meeting next week to step down as mayor, according to an email his office sent Monday.

By a vote of 100-0, the Senate voted Thursday to confirm Foxx's nomination as DOT secretary.

Once Foxx resigns as mayor, council members would then look to appoint a new mayor to fill out his term, which ends in December. But there is no set timetable for that to happen, meaning the city could be without a mayor for days or weeks.

The only requirements for the new mayor are that he or she be a Charlotte resident from the same party as Foxx, a Democrat. The City Council isn’t required to act by a certain date.

Foxx may be able to lobby council members to pick a certain person to replace him, but he will not have a formal vote. The email from Foxx’s office was sent to ask which council members will be in town during the July Fourth holiday week, when there is no scheduled council meeting.

It takes six of 11 council members in attendance to hold a meeting, and six council members to approve an action, such as the appointment of a new mayor.

City Attorney Bob Hagemann said Foxx can step down by letter and doesn’t need to hold a special meeting to do so.

Council members are unlikely to name someone who is running for the position to be mayor. That would rule out Mayor Pro Tem Patrick Cannon, who has announced his candidacy, and District 2 representative James Mitchell, who said Tuesday he’s strongly considering a run.

Some names mentioned for the job include former City Council member Nancy Carter, former county commissioner Jennifer Roberts, and current council member Patsy Kinsey, who represents District 1. Kinsey couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday.

Council members could ask interested candidates to make a formal application and speak to council members. But one council member, Democrat John Autry, said he is leaning toward acting quickly in naming a new mayor.

“I think we will do it in a timely fashion and keep going forward with the business of the city,” Autry said. “We are getting ready to go on the summer break. I think it’s a good idea to go ahead and get it done.”

Democrat David Howard said the council doesn’t necessarily need to adopt a formal process to review candidates for the job.

“I think it will be whoever can get six votes,” Howard said.

Foxx’s press secretary Al Killeffer said Wednesday the e-mail was only done out of “due diligence” to see which council members would be in town if a meeting needed to be called. He said the mayor isn’t “putting the cart before the horse” in planning to step down before a confirmation vote in the Senate.

If there is no mayor, then Cannon, the mayor pro tem, would run meetings and vote as a council member. But he would not have a veto, one of the powers that a mayor has.

Harrison: 704-358-5160
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