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Attaboy, Mr. Mayor

Charlotte Mayor Dan Clodfelter. Photo by Tony Brown

Charlotte Mayor Dan Clodfelter. Photo by Tony Brown

Charlotte Mayor Dan Clodfelter, a country boy educated at Duke University and in the N.C. Legislature, has a way of making observations that are dead-on true – and, better yet, dead funny.

The mayor got in another sly one Monday night at the 5 p.m. “dinner pre-meeting” of the Charlotte City Council, which is held in a small meeting room of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Government Center immediately before the regular 6:30 meeting begins in the far larger and more formal Meeting Chamber.

Freshman District 7 Councilman Kenny Smith was thanking City Manager Ron Carlee at the dinner meeting, which was as usual sparsely attended by the public, for looking into an issue for him.

Clodfelter asked if Smith wanted to bring up the subject at the better-attended main meeting. That’s what the dinner meetings are for: the City Council members ask questions, and put items on the later meeting’s agenda. That and eat fried chicken and lick their fingers.

“Oh, no,” said Smith, a Republican whose boyish looks are matched by his laid-back demeanor. “I was just giving him an ‘attaboy.’”

Clodfelter, not missing a beat, turned to Carlee with this deadpanned gem: “You get your ‘attaboys’ here in the dinner meeting. You get your reprimands in the Meeting Chamber.”

It was ever thus about bosses and their employees. Fortunately, with Clodfelter as the city’s boss of all bosses, truth and humor are not-so-strange bedfellows – in politics, or in life.

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