Monday, December 1, 2014

Cotham's plea to be chair

Fellow Democrats have been rapping Mecklenburg County commissioner Pat Cotham for not asking for their vote for chairman. They dislike her and have no intention of voting for her tonight in any case, but they have complained that Cotham was campaigning to lead the board without actually asking them for their support.

Well, now she has. Sunday morning, Cotham sent a letter to the other commissioners asking for their vote for board chair. Cotham argued that voters "sent a clear and unequivocal message" on Election Day by giving her the most votes. They want her "no-nonsense leadership" style, she says. If commissioners give her the gavel, she promises to be "an inclusive leader who respects your voice."

Commissioners vote tonight. Every indication is that they will make Democrat Trevor Fuller, who finished third and did not win a single precinct, the chairman.

Here is Cotham's letter to commissioners:

Dear Fellow Commissioners and Commissioners-Elect:

I write today to ask you for your vote for Chair of the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners.

On November 4th, the voters of this county sent a clear and unequivocal message.  Their overwhelming support for my candidacy reflects a mandate for my style of no-nonsense leadership – a leadership style that puts people ahead of party and policy ahead of power.

You are, of course, not formally bound by their vote of confidence.  But when it comes to choosing your Chair, the people’s voice should matter.  If the Board of County Commissioners were an appointed board it would make sense to vote among ourselves for a leader without considering the voice of anyone else.  However, our Board is elected not appointed so the clear message from the voters should be respected and not ignored.

It is no coincidence that my candidacy received such support at a time when voters are deeply frustrated with politics as usual.   Voters are hungry for elected officials who can put aside partisan politics and make the tough decisions that good government requires.  Families and business leaders want us to remember that they are paying the bills. They expect us – rightfully – to work together and show each other respect, even when we disagree on the issues or have personality clashes. 

They’ve seen me do just that.  They’ve seen me do my homework, make tough decisions, build relationships, watch out for their tax dollars, be visible in the community, work “across the aisle” and produce results.

If you honor me with the opportunity to serve as your Chair, I will be an inclusive leader who respects your voice, just as I respect the people’s voice.  You and I may disagree, but I will respect your opinion. The people are tired of bickering and unprofessional comments. I believe we are better than that.

 I will be an inclusive Chair, working with you, our community stakeholders, other governmental bodies (including our legislature), and our staff to solve the many challenges ahead and to move our county forward.  I will always listen to the people.

As your Chair, I will continue to be visible throughout our community, building the relationships that are critical to effective governance and progress.  I will ask the tough questions, without fear of the answers.  I will advocate for all, not just the few.  And I will continue to answer when called by upset citizens, our elected officials, reporters, and county employees.  Like you, they all deserve respect and a receptive ear.

Although I’ve spent many years working in the background for political candidates, it was fewer than three years ago that I went from campaigning for others to campaigning for myself.  Governing is tough.  It doesn’t always go as smoothly as we would like.  But the people have placed their trust in us and they expect us to respect their votes and represent them professionally.

For the more than 146,000 voters who cast their votes for me, many of whom waited hours to vote, I respectfully ask for your vote as Chair.


Pat Cotham



Cornelia said...

I fear for Char/Meck's future. The majority on all three of its boards has made it clear that they are in it for themselves. We have seen this happen elsewhere, with bad results. Howver, with changing demographics and an unwillingness of many to get out and vote, there seems to be little we can do but watch.

Wiley Coyote said...


The future of Mecklenburg County has nothing to do with the BOCC, but rather CMS.

CMS is 70% minority, 30% White and dropping, yet the County is nearly 60% White.

The BOCC is just a sideshow composed of two of the acts that used to be on the CMS BOE - Leake and Dunlap.

You get what you vote for.

Michael Vincent said...

Respectfully Pat,

You are there to sever the people not you own interests. You are there to communicate the issues at hand and vote as the majority of the voting public mandates that you do so. Your job is to be selfless and serve without passion to your own ideals, ego or desires. It is public service you have chosen and you must always respect that first and foremost. If this burden of service is too much please resign and you will be respected just the same. Leadership requires sacrifice and ego must be put aside for the community in which you serve. Period.

The Infamous AB said...

Upon assuming the chairmanship, Pat made one of her first priorities the firing of Harry Jones. The manner in which she went about it was distasteful and disrespectful. To make matters worse, after Mr. Jones was terminated, he was not given the opportunity to speak. He was dismissed, as if he were a common criminal. Despite how you may feel about him personally, Mr. Jones is well respected by credentialed managers all across the country. He had a stellar career and he deserved better than the way and manner that he was summarily dismissed. Maybe the other Democrats on the board have not forgotten the events of that evening. Effective leadership is not only about doing the right things, but also doing things in the right way. Was the firing of Harry Jones done the right way? Maybe it wasn't in the eyes of the other Democrats on the board. As a leader, you must not only serve your external customers (the public), you must also serve your internal customers (those who you lead). Just something for Pat to think about as to why things may be at this point.

Wiley Coyote said...

Democrats always seem to have short memories and problems dealing with facts.

It wasn't that long ago that Harold Cogdill tried to pull a coup and oust Roberts as Chair, as did grandaddy Democrat-tax and spend-get-a-free-dinner Parks Helms, who also claimed he was King and should get the Chair even though Roberts got the most votes.

Y'all keep this up and I'll have to pop some corn!