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Dunlap says he’ll lead with fairness as he’s named Mecklenburg County chairman again

George Dunlap will serve a fifth term as chair of the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners, and he’s got a message for the next two years.

“Our board now has a closer relationship with every elected body in Mecklenburg County,” Dunlap said. “We expect that relationship to grow.”

Dunlap’s fellow commissioners named him chair Monday by a 6-2 vote after taking their oaths of office. Elaine Powell was reelected vice chair. Both positions last for one year.

Dunlap represents District 3 and has served as chair since 2018.

Commisioner Elaine Powell, of District 1, sits at her seat during the commissioners meeting at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center Monday, Dec. 5 in Charlotte, NC.
Commisioner Elaine Powell, of District 1, sits at her seat during the commissioners meeting at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center Monday, Dec. 5 in Charlotte, NC.

Commissioners shared excitement to get to work on education, affordable housing, workforce development and other issues.

Arthur Griffin is the only new member of the board, replacing interim commissioner Wilhelmenia Rembert in an at-large seat.

At-large representative Pat Cotham and District 2 Commissioner Vilma Leake voted against Dunlap as chair. Leake tried to nominate Griffin, but he declined the role.

“I would hope that the chair and vice chair would regularly talk to all of us,” Cotham said. “I think that’s something we haven’t had and I look forward to that.”

At-Large Commissioner Pat Cotham gets sworn in next to her family at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center Monday, Dec. 5 in Charlotte, NC.
At-Large Commissioner Pat Cotham gets sworn in next to her family at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center Monday, Dec. 5 in Charlotte, NC.

Powell was nominated by at-large representative Leigh Altman and approved unanimously by the commission for vice chair.

Thank you for your confidence, I am committed to leadership that unites,” Powell, who is serving her third term, said about returning to her position.

Commissioner Elaine Powell, of District 1, stands with her family at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center Monday, Dec. 5 in Charlotte, NC.
Commissioner Elaine Powell, of District 1, stands with her family at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center Monday, Dec. 5 in Charlotte, NC.

Chair’s accomplishments

Dunlap, 66, told The Charlotte Observer before the election his proudest accomplishment is becoming the first district representative to be elected chair. Dunlap is now serving his ninth term on the board.

“While we might be elected from various districts, we are elected to serve all the residents of Mecklenburg County,” Dunlap said at the dais. “In the coming months, you will hear us discuss our priorities for the next two years. I’m excited because what we will do is elevate what we’ve already done.”

The Democrat has a background in law enforcement and served on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education. When Dunlap was on the board, he worked with Griffin, who he said was his mentor.

My hope is to continue to serve as my mentor has taught me to serve, and that is to be legal, to be fair and to be consistent,” Dunlap said about the nomination.

County commissioners will have their first full meeting of the term on Tuesday. They’ll hold a public hearing for a business investment grant with manufacturer Bosch Rexroth, consider an agreement to allow Pineville law enforcement to serve its extraterritorial jurisdiction and set the 2023 county commissioner meeting schedule.

At-Large Commissioner Arthur Griffin Jr. stands with his family at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center Monday, Dec. 5 in Charlotte, NC.
At-Large Commissioner Arthur Griffin Jr. stands with his family at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center Monday, Dec. 5 in Charlotte, NC.