Charlotte Mayor Roberts names committee to consider city manager’s future

City Manager Ron Carlee’s three-year contract expires in April
City Manager Ron Carlee’s three-year contract expires in April Observer file photo

Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts has formed a special five-person committee to study whether Ron Carlee should continue as city manager.

Carlee’s three-year contract expires in April.

Roberts named Republican Ed Driggs to chair the committee. The other members are Democrats Vi Lyles, Patsy Kinsey, Al Austin and James Mitchell. Mitchell was added after Roberts’ original Dec. 15 email was sent.

The ad hoc committee will not have the final say on the manager’s future. Driggs said the panel’s recommendation will be sent to the full council and mayor, who all are allowed to vote on the manager’s employment.

The committee has several options:

▪ It could recommend allowing Carlee’s contract to expire.

▪ It could recommend a contract extension, possibly six months, a year or for multiple years.

▪ It could recommend that Carlee continue as manager but without a contract. Previous managers had been “at-will” employees, meaning they could be terminated by council members at any time. Carlee’s 2013 contract gave him severance if he was fired before the contract expired.

Carlee’s total compensation is $290,000, plus the use of a car.

Carlee’s pay hasn’t increased since his contract was signed in 2013, so it’s possible the committee could debate whether Carlee should get a pay raise if he stays.

Driggs said Tuesday that it’s too early to comment on what could happen.

“We haven’t met yet,” he said. “I can’t comment.”

When he was hired, Carlee’s biggest supporter was former Mayor Anthony Foxx, now the U.S. secretary of transportation. Foxx wanted Carlee to be a voice of the city, helping explain policy to residents.

But council members pushed back against that in the last two years. They have been upset Carlee has been too vocal, and the manager has since receded from the public spotlight.

Some council members are concerned about a large number of executives who have left the city under Carlee’s tenure. In a closed session meeting, council members considered firing the manager earlier this year after former police Chief Rodney Monroe announced he was retiring.

Other council members have praised how Carlee handled the most recent budget, in which the city faced an $18.1 million loss of the business privilege license tax.

Steve Harrison: 704-358-5160, @Sharrison_Obs