It's looking like CMS board chair Mary McCray and vice chair Tim Morgan will cruise to re-election at Wednesday's board meeting.
From Democratic member Joyce Waddell: "They complement each other and they complement the community."
From unaffiliated member Eric Davis: "I think Tim and Mary have done a fine job."
As Coach Joe White, a former board chairman, used to say, you can't be sure what will happen until the hands are raised. But I'm not hearing the usual caginess that I get when board members are wrangling over who will get the leadership posts.
I used to think the selection of a chair and vice chair had little impact beyond board members' egos. But I'm starting to rethink that attitude after seeing the difference between the 2012 board and the 2013 version, which had the same members but different officers.
In December 2011, Ericka Ellis-Stewart was elected chair and McCray was vice chair. They were the top finishers in the November at-large election. Neither had board experience and both were Democrats. Partisan rifts flared, especially when the Democratic majority appointed a Democrat to the District 6 seat, where voters consistently choose Republicans. Ellis-Stewart, who had been a powerhouse candidate with widespread support, built a reputation as a chairman who made decisions without consulting other members. Tension among board members went public when Ellis-Stewart found herself unable to cover travel costs for a Charlotte Chamber trip to London, which was ultimately cancelled.
In December 2012, the board paired Democrat McCray with Republican Morgan. Ellis-Stewart stepped into a different leadership role, representing CMS on the national level as a steering committee member for the Council of Urban Boards of Education. I've been hearing good things about the new team from board members and the community. Lennon noted that McCray talks to her even when she knows they're going to be on opposite sides of a vote, something that she seldom experienced in her first three years.
The current good feelings stand in contrast to the board's old reputation for bickering. And, for that matter, to the drama over electing a chairman for the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners or the Wake County school board.