Carrboro Mayor Lavelle announces she will retire at the end of her current term
Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle will step down after her term ends in December, she said in a press release on Wednesday.
Lavelle said she loved her time as mayor, but always intended to retire after four terms. Lavelle has been mayor since 2013, but was involved in local government for many years before, working on municipal advisory boards in Carrboro and Durham.
She said she felt confident stepping down in light of the progress she and city council have made throughout her tenure.
Lavelle said she had worked on many important projects during her tenure, from handling the COVID-19 pandemic to promoting progressive politics and Carrboro’s reputation.
“I really feel like if people know something about Carrboro, they know that we are a progressive beacon and that we stand up for our values,” Lavelle said.
It led Carrboro to be the first city to fight House Bill 2, a state law requiring public facilities to only allow people to use toilets designated for sex on their birth certificates.
Susan Romaine, a member of the Carrboro City Council, said Lavelle has been an incredible leader for Carrboro, especially when it comes to the pandemic. She said Lavelle left big shoes to fill.
“I served on city council primarily during a time of unprecedented economic and public health crises,” said Romaine. “I think it was at a time like this that the true qualities of a leader were showcased, and we saw that in Mayor Lavelle.
Romaine said Lavelle always came to meetings well prepared, listened intently to perspectives that differed from her own, and was an excellent communicator with neighboring municipalities and county departments.
Romaine greatly appreciates Lavelle’s ability to squeeze lightness and humor into difficult situations and have an unmatched work ethic in all circumstances, she said.
Carrboro City Council member Damon Seils said Lavelle had a big impact both on the council and on the entire city during his tenure as mayor.
“Lydia has led by example as a stable, collaborative and thoughtful colleague,” said Seils. “Lydia’s leadership has been a great gift to the city, and her service continues to have an impact statewide.”
Lavelle also has a day job as a professor at the North Carolina Central School of Law, and she said she plans to continue teaching after her retirement as mayor. She said she was exploring different opportunities this summer as to how she will spend her free time.
During her final months in office, Lavelle said she plans to find a talented and capable person to replace Carrboro city manager David Andrews, who has just announced his retirement as well.
She said Carrboro was also receiving half of its COVID-19 relief funds from the federal government this year, and that she was focusing on how that money can best help local nonprofits and businesses. to get out of the pandemic.
“I really enjoyed my time as mayor,” Lavelle said. “I think I’m really proud of a lot of things.”
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