CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - In just a little over seven months Charlotte will host the Republican National Convention but so far the City of Charlotte is not sharing even the most basic details of how it’s preparing for this massive event.
When the Democratic National Convention came to town there was a lot of advance planning.
A summary report released by the city after the DNC shows the city formed seven different committees and five internal work groups. All of those committees were filled with dozens of members from the city, county and federal agencies.
But now there’s a new city manager and dozens of new members of his executive management team so WBTV started requesting information about the city’s committees and what employees are doing to prepare.
In an email, Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department told WBTV that they were busy planning and coordinating venue security, air space security and other aspects leading up to the RNC. However, they wouldn’t release committee titles because, according to a statement from their public information officer, it falls under security information.
“The whole point of having a safe event is to make sure people don’t have details of the plan and can use those details against you,” CMPD Chief Kerr Putney said.
But there’s other details the city isn’t providing that also are still being reviewed for security exemptions.
Eventually, the city provided WBTV with a list of committees and committee heads.
Leading the RNC team is Assistant City Manager Angela Charles, Chair of the RNC Executive Management Team.
“We’ve been planning and engaging folks since August of last year,” Charles said.
But WBTV asked for proof of their work and we still don’t have it. The city hasn’t released when those committees were formed, when they meet, who their members are or what their general scope of work is.
For committees like “Permitting, Parade and Event Management” and “Integrated Communications and Marketing” the city hasn’t released that information saying the records are being reviewed for “potential security exemptions.”
“At this time there’s a lot of work and planning that’s going on so we’re keeping some information private due to the safety and security and nature of the conversations,” Charles said.
“But as time goes on, we will be releasing more.”
Leading up to the 2012 DNC there was backlash to a lottery system that protesters could apply to for permits, so WBTV wants to stay on top of what the city’s plans are for people involved with the RNC.
So far, the city website contains few details about RNC preparations. A city web page with frequently asked questions has no more than a few sentences on when and where the RNC will be and how to volunteer.
“One of the teams is working on permitting and event planning and street closures so as we get closer more information will be released,” Charles said.