© 2023 WFAE
90.7 Charlotte 93.7 Southern Pines 90.3 Hickory 106.1 Laurinburg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Charlotte Mayor Breaks Tie To Put Former Member Back On City Council

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center.
Nick de la Canal

Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles broke a 5-5 tie Monday night to have former council member Greg Phipps fill a vacancy on City Council.

There is an open seat because at-large member James Mitchell resigned last month because of a conflict in his new job as part-owner of a construction company that does business with the city. His term ends in December.

More than 140 people applied for the vacancy, and 68 people spoke during a virtual public forum on Friday.

Greg Phipps, Charlotte City Council Member
Greg Phipps

But it came down to two candidates: Phipps and Jessica Davis, who works in communications and community support for the Mecklenburg County Courthouse.

Davis had the support of many of the newer members on council: Reneé Johnson, Victoria Watlington, Dimple Ajmera and Matt Newton.

Davis ran for council in 2019 but finished second in the District 2 Democratic primary to Malcolm Graham.

At-large member Braxton Winston said he couldn’t support either applicant.

He said he wouldn’t support Davis because she finished second in the primary. And he said he couldn’t support Phipps because he didn’t speak at Friday’s virtual public forum.

He wanted another meeting for council members to discuss the applications in more detail.

Johnson said she was upset that Phipps didn't speak during Friday's meeting.

City Council member Renee Johnson said it would be an "insult" to vote for Greg Phipps to fill a vacant seat on City Council.
City of Charlotte
City Council member Reneé Johnson said it would be an "insult" to vote for Greg Phipps to fill a vacant seat on City Council.

"To vote for council member Phipps is an insult (to the other applicants)," she said.

Phipps had the support of more tenured council members: Mayor Pro Tem Julie Eiselt, Graham, Larken Egleston and Republicans Tariq Bokhari and Ed Driggs.

But with Winston not voting for either candidate, Phipps had five votes in favor and five votes against. That led Lyles to cast the deciding cote.

Graham said Phipps had the experience to serve immediately. He also said that Phipps had pledged to not run this fall, which Graham said would be fair to other people wanting to run.

Phipps had been appointed to fill Graham’s vacated seat in 2005 when Graham left for the General Assembly. Phipps also was elected to the council last decade.

Sign up for our daily headlines newsletter

Select Your Email Format

Steve Harrison is WFAE's politics and government reporter. Prior to joining WFAE, Steve worked at the Charlotte Observer, where he started on the business desk, then covered politics extensively as the Observer’s lead city government reporter. Steve also spent 10 years with the Miami Herald. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, the Sporting News and Sports Illustrated.