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Council Member Banks-McLaughlin seeks censure of Mayor Colvin, Council Member Benavente

She accuses them of disrespectful and discourteous treatment of staff and other council members


Fayetteville City Council Member Courtney Banks-McLaughlin wants the council to censure Mayor Mitch Colvin and Council Member Mario Benavente when the council meets on Tuesday evening. 

According to Banks-McLaughlin’s agenda item request form, she’s seeking to censure them for “disrespectful and discourteous treatment” of colleagues and city staff. 

“I envision this agenda item will accomplish the goals of reassuring the public that the Council takes seriously disrespectful and discourteous treatment of staff and other Council members and hold the specific Council members accountable for their actions,” Banks-McLaughlin wrote.

“This will also ensure trust and confidence in City government through transparency and high quality customer service.”

Banks-McLaughlin, who submitted the request Dec. 22., did not provide specific examples of the alleged misconduct. Banks-McLaughlin didn’t respond Friday to multiple requests  for comment.

The only additional public detail of the request is in an answer to the form’s standard question of which  “strategic goal” of the city the request seeks to fulfill. 

“The City of Fayetteville will continue to have a collaborative citizen and business engagement base,” Banks-McLaughlin wrote.  

A censure, though not legally punitive, serves as a formal reprimand for a council member’s behavior, such as misconduct or disrespectful comments. A majority vote is required to censure a council member. 

Both Benavente and Colvin said they don’t know what they did that prompted Banks-McLaughlin to seek to censure them.

Colvin said Banks-McLaughlin’s agenda item request form was not properly filled out. 

“She was supposed to give specifics about it,” Colvin said in a text message to CityView Friday afternoon. He said he didn’t have further information or comments about it but “look[s] forward” to the discussion Tuesday. 

“She wasn’t exactly specific about the issue,” Benavente said in a text message to CityView Friday afternoon.  

Benevante said he suspects the request is related to the city’s recent $200,000 settlement with former Police Chief Gina Hawkins, who alleged mistreatment and discrimination from colleagues during her tenure. Benavente, who criticized the payout in comments to CityView after the Dec. 11 council meeting, voted against the settlement, along with Council Member Deno Hondros. 

This isn’t the first time a council member has sought to censure a colleague in recent years. 

Two years ago, within a month of each other, former Council Member Johnny Dawkins and former Council Member Shakeyla Ingram were censured by fellow council members. 

Dawkins was censured in November 2021 for yelling, swearing and making racially-insensitive comments to former Council Member Yvonne Kinston, who is Black. Ingram was censured in December 2021 for using profanity at a council meeting, calling the council at the time “the most corrupt a** board I’ve seen.”

Here’s what else is on the agenda for Tuesday: 

  • Vape shops: Council Member D.J. Haire wants to restrict where tobacco and vape shops can operate in residential neighborhoods.  The Cumberland County commissioners recently discussed a similar idea, as has the Hope Mills town board. Spring Lake has restricted the siting of these stores since 2019.
  • Proposed changes to city development ordinance: These proposed changes focus on reducing parking requirements for specific development types, better defining mixed-use office-warehouse areas and clarifying and streamlining regulations for gas stations, signs and residential parking.
  • Yard waste: A discussion on whether to continue using the current rules for yard waste collection or to limit the yard waste collection to 10 items in containers. 
  • Unaccompanied minors: A discussion on how the city should handle situations where minors are found alone in city buildings or properties, such as city parks or recreation centers.
  • Council meeting times: The council will discuss whether to change meeting times for regular council meetings from 7 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and for work sessions (council meetings where the council discusses matters in-depth) from 5 p.m. to 2 p.m. 

The council will meet at 5 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 433 Hay St. The meeting will be aired on Spectrum Cable Channel 7 and live-streamed at faytv.net.

Contact Evey Weisblat at eweisblat@cityviewnc.com or 216-527-3608. 

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Courtney Banks-McLaughlin, Mitch Colvin, Mario Benavente, censure, city council