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Revenge or “healing” for Huntersville


Monday night looked like it might be “revenge”…

After a tough campaign for Mayor, one that became personal and fairly nasty at times particularly around the widening of I77 with HOT Lanes, Mayor Jill Swain was quoted in the Lake Norman Citizen as saying “my next step is to start working to help Huntersville heal from all the negativity generated in this campaign.”

Things started off well for the newly minted Huntersville Board on Monday night with the unanimous selection of Commissioner Melinda Bales to serve as Mayor Pro Tem.  Bales received by far the most votes in the election for the Huntersville Board being the only candidate to break 3000 ballots.  As tradition has it she became the Mayor Pro Tem serving as Mayor Swain’s “backup” even though there are other commissioners with longer tenures on the Board.

Things quickly turned south after that.

The second vote for the new Board ended in a tie when Mayor Swain put forth a recommended set of committee appointments that clearly stacked the deck with commissioners from “Team Swain” (Ron Julian, Sarah McAulay, and Jeff Neely) receiving 7 assignments including all of the most important and influential posts.  “The Others” on the Board (Melinda Bales, Danny Phillps, and Rob Kidwell) received a combined total of 3 spots.

When it came time to vote on the assignments “Team Swain” and “The Others” split 3-3 with Mayor Swain casting the tiebreaker in favor of her picks.  See below for the details.

Here are a couple of the low-lights of this set of assignments around the major transportation issues affecting our region.

Mayor Pro Tem Bales gets the LNTC post while Sarah McAulay gets sent back to the CRTPO (formerly MUMPO) post.  While the LNTC sounds important, thereal transportation decisions for our region are made at the CRTPO.  Instead of sending the highest vote getter for Huntersville to CRTPO, Mayor Swain chose to send the person who tried to shut down debate at that group on the all important widening of I-77.  See this video where Chairwoman McAulay prevents members of the public from speaking at the public hearing on widening I-77.

Commissioners Phillips and Kidwell get the Arts and Sciences Council and the Huntersville Historical Society posts respectively.  They received endorsements from the and Commissioner Kidwell specifically thanks that group on his Facebook page for their support and tells the Lake Norman Citizen regarding I77 “I think it clearly was the issue of the toll lanes,” he said. “I believe that was the major factor in me getting elected to the board and I hope this is something we can talk about as a board and get settled.” 

Sending “The Others” to these committee assignments while giving the plum assignments to “Team Swain”  seems like a strange way to start the healing process.  But then again, maybe it all makes sense in @SwainsWorld

**Rick Short blogs at

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