Gov. Pat McCrory and Charlotte Mayor Dan Clodfelter met for nearly an hour Thursday in the mayor’s office, discussing economic development, transportation and control of Charlotte Douglas International Airport.
But perhaps the biggest takeaway from the sit-down: Despite their different political parties, McCrory is happy Clodfelter is mayor.
The two men said they spent much of the meeting reminiscing about when they served together for four years on the City Council, starting in 1989.
“I was 32 and he was 38,” said McCrory in a brief question-and-answer session with the media. He said that on Thursday, “We talked about teamwork, we talked about ethics.”
McCrory, a Republican, added that he remembers exactly where Clodfelter, a Democrat, sat on the dais.
“I remember Dan looking for solutions,” McCrory said.
Said Clodfelter: “Pat wasn’t afraid to ask tough questions.”
“I was asking questions and Dan was looking for solutions,” McCrory said.
McCrory was Charlotte’s mayor for 14 years and was succeeded by Anthony Foxx. Foxx and McCrory were not close. McCrory said Thursday he hadn’t been to the mayor’s office in the nearly four years that Foxx had the job.
McCrory said he came to the 15th-floor office to visit Patsy Kinsey who succeeded Foxx. He also visited Patrick Cannon soon after he took the oath of office in December.
The mayor’s office figured prominently in and still carries the stigma of Cannon’s arrest March 26 on federal corruption charges. A nearly four-year sting culminated in February with Cannon accepting a suitcase filled with a $20,000 bribe in that office, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office affidavit.
Clodfelter was appointed to the mayor’s position Monday by the City Council. He was sworn in Wednesday.
“I hope you will be back many times,” Clodfelter said about McCrory visiting his office.
McCrory replied: “I have invited him to spend the night at the governor’s mansion.”
McCrory was asked about the impact of Cannon’s arrest on Charlotte’s image.
“We will still have to deal with it for the future,” McCrory said. “Dan’s appointment will speed up the process. He gets it.”
Clodfelter said he and McCrory talked about how to resolve the dispute over who should control Charlotte Douglas International Airport but didn’t offer any specifics about a way forward.
Another controversial topic is Duke Energy’s proposal to move millions of tons of coal ash to the airport, where it would be buried and used as fill.
McCrory declined to offer an opinion on the issue.
“I think the mayor needs more time to talk to his council,” McCrory said. “I will respect the local decision-makers. There are many steps to go.”