City Council signifies it wants Tim Newman out, but can't come out and say so

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Last night, City Council reprimanded the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, but still agreed to give it one-fourth of the $10 million needed for the upcoming fiscal year. Council went through a coded dance, in which they told CRVA that it is still on the Council's shit list ... but well, here, take this anyway. Earlier in the day, CRVA finally came up with an actual written report from a consultant (see CL's story on the subject, published this week), thus giving the appearance that they respect Council’s authority; that effectively blocked any move to cut off funding completely, since according to the code, CRVA had done what council requested in its last meeting.

Council members who are up in arms about CRVA management — specifically, the board's lackadaisical approach toward the increasingly well-documented ethical lapses of Tim Newman, the group’s CEO — let the organization have it last night. As expected, Councilman Warren Cooksey, the former head of CRVA’s predecessor organization, defended CRVA, saying Council was overstepping its bounds (Huh? By controlling city government’s purse strings? That’s their — your — job, Warren). Cooksey, indicating that he has apparently missed the whole point of the public’s ire over Newman’s oily glad-handing, declared, "Everyone who relies on that tax says the CRVA is doing a fantastic job." Sometimes, you gotta laugh at these guys’ sense of entitlement. Yeah, I bet they think that, Warren — especially when they can line up for all the freebies doled out by Tim the Walking House Party.

Cooksey also complained that Council hasn’t given CRVA “a clear indication” of what it’s looking for. Cooksey is being disingenuous here, since he and CRVA can ostensibly pick up the code as well as any outside observer. For the record, Warren, here’s precisely what Council and Foxx want: Tim Newman’s head on a plate. The real problem here, as I see it, is that they won’t just come out and say it. Sure, Council is in a bind because it can’t fire Newman; it only appoints the CRVA board. And it's true, too, that CRVA has the support of the Uptown money crowd. But still, it should be perfectly OK in a city this size for the mayor and Council members to come out and openly say that Newman has to go. The leftover mannerisms of Old Charlotte gentility, however, prevent it, which results in Foxx having to go around his ass to get to his elbow, winding up in the endless discussions we’re seeing now, where the parties go around and around, never saying precisely what they mean. CRVA is showing that it's willing to push back against the mayor and Council, so it’s going to be interesting to see what the board decides “within the week” about re-upping Newman’s contract. They’ve been floating the idea of letting Newman continue as CEO, but without a contract. Heaven knows how Foxx and Council would respond to that. If they have enough courage, though, they’re talking to CRVA  board members right now, demanding Newman’s resignation. But that is a big “if.”

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