Conversations over race add tension to County Commission Chair V - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Conversations over race add tension to County Commission Chair Vote

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Before the Mecklenburg County commissioners entered the room, many knew how it would all play out.

Trevor Fuller would be nominated as chairman, and Pat Cotham who chaired the group for the last year would be nominated again, but before the vote ever took place Republican Bill James claimed this changing of the guard was based on race.

"You basically have two groups of democrats who are fighting with each other, "James said. "Black democrats on one side and you have liberal democrats on the other."

Democrat Vilma Leake who nominated Fuller discounted the James argument.

She said, "It bothers me for you Mr. James to go that route of black versus white. I had hoped that this community would have gone further or gotten along further."

Fuller had the votes and won the chairmanship over Cotham, but James offered another observation.

"I am concerned about racial profiling on the part of the new junta."

Those remarks by James caused Commissioner George Dunlap to drop a bomb shell, after remaining quiet.

"Especially at a time that we're selecting a county manager, and especially when commissioner James sat on the committee that excluded many of us, and especially in light of the fact that there is not one African American candidate," Dunlap said.

Fuller who is asking for unity by posing a question - "How do we move forward together," he asked, "all nine of us?"

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