Seems to me Charlotte city government once again has another mystery on its hands.
Exactly why did City Attorney Mac McCarley and two different City Managers, Curt Walton and Pam Syfert, opt not to tell then-Mayor Pat McCrory about trouble between city councilman Warren Turner and city employees?
One theory advanced to me by multiple watchers of local politics is that top city staff kept McCrory out of the loop because they believed the mayor to be “close” to Turner. I have no idea if that is an accurate description of their relationship. Besides an alternate theory several other people have advanced to me is the nearly the complete opposite. Namely that city staff did not want to bring the supposed transgressions of a black Democrat councilman to a white Republican mayor for a fix. This theory holds that the fear of a racially tinged city scandal stayed the hand of Walton and McCarley until another black Democrat was mayor making it “safe” to air their concerns about Turner.
But whatever the motivation, it is not the job of city staff to weigh personal and political ties between elected officials while acting in their official capacity. At least it should not be in a system of government with the elected officials at the top and the hired help below. However, as we’ve seen repeatedly over the years, that is not the case in Charlotte. Elected officials, including the mayor, do the bidding of city staff.
Meanwhile, the NC Department of Corrections is predictably closing ranks around probations officer Turner. A request by the Uptown paper of record for a list of probationers under Turner’s supervision has been denied. The paper is understandably trying to establish if anyone who has come in contact with Turner in his official capacity has complaints about his behavior similar to those presented in the city’s investigation of his conduct.
It may take awhile, but we’ll find that one out soon enough. As for the reasons behind the actions of highly-paid city staff, don’t count on it.