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Fayetteville City Council Divided On How To Replace Dawkins

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FAYETTEVILLE — The emotional task of replacing Fayetteville Mayor J.L. Dawkins, who died May 30 after a battle with cancer, has become a political one.

By law, the council must appoint someone to fill Dawkins' vacant seat. Councilman Curtis Worthy wants the rest of the mayor's term to be split into three 6-month terms.

"If we pick an African-American, it would cause hostility in other camps. If we pick a Democrat over a Republican, it will cause hostility in other camps," says Worthy. "It's one versus the other. This is a compromise only to get us to the next November when the people will decide who they like."

Fayetteville residents are split about the idea.

"If you have three different people, nobody can complain," says Fayetteville resident Christine D'Anjou. "I think it's a good idea to split it up."

"I feel that the next in line should take his place," says Fayetteville resident Bettina Kelly. "Six months is too short and not enough time to evaluate someone in that situation."

The city council seems split on the idea as well.

"I don't think that's effective leadership for our city," says councilman Mark Kendricks. "I think we need to have stabilization."

In Worthy's proposal, the Mayor Pro Tem would serve one term, a Republican would serve another, and Marshall Pitts, an African-American, would serve the third term.

"We just buried our Mayor a few days ago. I think the time is not now to be discussing such subjects," Pitts says.

Worthy says he thinks he has the votes to get his plan approved.

A decision could be made at the next council meeting June 19.


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