Charlotte mayor to environmental critics: It’s about action, not alignment

Environmental advocates at Monday’s City Council meeting.
Environmental advocates at Monday’s City Council meeting.

Charlotte is evolving at a rapid pace, with more than 100 people moving to the region each day.

In striving to integrate those new community members, welcome new businesses, grow our economy, and improve the overall quality of life for all, we have come to realize that the siloed approach to leadership and governance that once found a comfortable place in this Government Center cannot and should not continue.

Our city is changing. The Charlotte City Council, like other parts of city government, must work to streamline our approach to increase our effectiveness and efficiency in the way we serve this community.

It’s all about action, not alignment.

It is in this spirit that I, just as my predecessors have done, restructured the city council’s committees. Following research and detailed analysis, we determined it in Charlotte’s best interests to move beyond the siloed approach that had taken root in our government to favor a more streamlined, innovative approach that considers holistic input from related areas to affect more meaningful community change.

As leaders, we are charged with creating solutions and frameworks for action that will quickly and sustainably address the most immediate life and death issues facing this community: gun violence and public safety, affordable housing, clean safe streets, and the cultivation of high-quality neighborhoods irrespective of one’s income or socio-economic status.

Some have questioned this new structure, but what’s most important is what we do, not the specific names and compositions of the committees. Now is the time for us to work together and really think about what we’re doing collectively to advance equity and opportunity for everyone.

My work with Women4Climate and Bloomberg Philanthropies has reinforced this collaborative approach. When speaking as a panelist at the Women4Climate conference earlier this year, I reiterated my commitment to innovation through sustainability. I look forward to continued support from this visionary group as we all work toward action on resiliency and climate-related matters.

The new committee structure prioritizes the development and sustainability of healthy neighborhoods.

It means that we must deliver on the promise of safe streets where lives are protected, people feel connected, and businesses feel safe pursuing new job opportunities in areas that have before now been neglected or were in disrepair.

The siloed approach of years past brought the city many gains, but it’s already resulted in uneven returns and prospects for prosperity for too many of our neighbors. We want all people who live in Charlotte to live in safe places they love. What’s more, we want them to feel like they are valuable, and meaningful parts of this community – because they are.

To get there and to ensure that everyone can benefit from a city that’s a safer, cleaner, all-around great place to live, we are relying on a collaborative approach to problem solving that will yield better results over time.

Our new committee structure is designed to be a force multiplier on the important work our city council members are already engaged in every day. I look forward to their continued leadership and to our on-going efforts to make the Queen City the very best that it can be for all our residents.

Lyles is Mayor of Charlotte.