New City Council takes reins
Cory Burkarth
Council swear in

Surrounded by family, friends, and members of the Charlotte community, Maylor Vi Lyles and all 11 members of the Charlotte City Council were sworn in on Monday night at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center.

Lyles was re-elected in November to a two-year term along with returning At-Large City Council members Julie Eiselt, James Mitchel, Braxton Winston and Dimple Ajmera. Also sworn in were District Members Larken Egleston (District 1), Malcolm Graham (District 2), Victoria Watlington (District 3), Renee Johnson (District 4), Matt Newton (District 5), Tariq Bokhari (District 6) and Ed Driggs (District 7). Graham formerly served on the Charlotte City Council from 1999-2004 before being elected to the North Carolina Senate.

Eiselt was unanimously chosen by her colleagues to serve a second term as Mayor Pro Tem.

Monday’s ceremony started with a musical performance by the Vance High School Drumline before Dr. Michelle A. Jones of Friendship Missionary Baptist Church delivered the invocation.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s Honor Guard presented the colors while Christine Willie from the Mayor’s Youth Employment Program (MYEP) led the Pledge of Allegiance.

The Queens University of Charlotte Chorus performed the National Anthem under the direction of Dr. Justin Smith.

Departing City Council members LaWana Mayfield and Justin Harlow delivered their farewell remarks in the chamber, and since departing City Council member Greg Phipps was unable to attend the ceremony, his wife Lemair Phipps spoke on his behalf.

Mayor Lyles was sworn in by Superior Court Judge Yvonne M. Evans. Following her remarks to the audience, Lyles then delivered the Oath of Office to all 11 city council members, who were joined at the dais by their families.

In addition to the evening’s swearing-in ceremony, Mayor Lyles honored Jesse Cureton with the Mayor’s Award in honor of Richard Vinroot and Dr. Philip L. Dubois with the Mayor’s Award in honor Harvey Gantt, recognitions designated for individuals whose contributions have made the City of Charlotte a better place.

Cureton is Chief Consumer Officer and Executive Vice President for Novant Health. Cureton was recognized for his work regarding investments in the city’s critical needs.

Mayor Lyles remarked that Cureton’s insight as a native Charlottean inspired the creation of One Charlotte, a group that promoted healing within the Charlotte community after demonstrations that followed the death of Keith Lamont Scott. Lyles said Cureton’s visionary concept has helped to address inequities throughout our city and has driven change that will last for generations.

"I am incredibly honored to receive the Mayor’s Award from Mayor Vi Lyles,” Cureton said. “Novant Health and I are committed to making Charlotte a remarkable community for everyone to live. This can be accomplished with dedication and action from a variety of public-private partnerships and it is work we must do today to ensure Charlotte is a fair and vibrant city for future generations.”

Dubois, the fourth chancellor for the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNC Charlotte) was recognized for his contributions to the Charlotte region. Dubois’ career in higher education spans more than 40 years and during his 15-year tenure at UNC Charlotte he has led the university through a 43 percent growth in enrollment, an expansion of academic programs, the implementation of diversity-related initiatives, growth in research funding and the construction and renovation of campus facilities.

Lyles noted that Dubois displayed steadfast stability and a calming presence during the tragic campus shooting in April of 2019. “Your strength and fortitude provided support to countless others who felt the heartbreak of that day,” said Lyles. “It was during one of the worst moments in Charlotte history that you demonstrated the compassion needed to help us get through it and begin the healing process.”

"I am honored to receive this award and proud of the strong partnership UNC Charlotte and the city have built together over time to meet the growing needs of the region,” Dubois said. "As the state’s only urban research university, it has been my privilege to lead UNC Charlotte's commitment to addressing the economic, educational, environmental, health and social needs of the Charlotte region."