NIMBY Councilors Turn Knives on Former Colleague, Transit Advocate

A former Raleigh City Council member — and frequent critic of some sitting council members — has been removed as one of the city’s representatives on the GoTriangle governing board.

In a split and surprising vote Tuesday, some Raleigh leaders chose to remove former Council Member Mary-Ann Baldwin from the GoTriangle board and to appoint Council Member Russ Stephenson to fill the remainder of Baldwin’s four-year term. Stephenson joined Council Members David Cox, Stef Mendell, Dickie Thompson and Kay Crowder in supporting the change. Mayor Nancy McFarlane and Council Members Corey Branch and Nicole Stewart voted against removing Baldwin.

”I just have to say I think it’s really unfortunate and it sends a bad message to the people we entrust to serve on boards who have dedicated years representing the city of Raleigh and been integral in the community,” McFarlane said. “It’s a shame that politics sometimes interferes with that.”

The plan to remove Baldwin was spearheaded by Cox and Mendell during an update by the Raleigh Transit Authority at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. ...

Baldwin, who was first elected to Raleigh City Council in 2007, chose not to run for re-election last fall.

Baldwin has frequently criticized some council members — including Cox, Mendell and Stephenson — for not moving fast enough on certain issues such as allowing granny flats and short-term rentals within Raleigh.

”I think it’s political payback,” Baldwin said. “Payback for being vocal and not agreeing with everything that they do.”

None of the council members who voted to remove Baldwin spoke to her first about the decision.

”It’s really a crummy feeling to be surprised by something like this,” Baldwin said. “It’s a slap in the face. If they had come to me and said that this is what we want to do and why, I would have understood that. And so I think it’s what they did but also how they did it. I just don’t think that is how you treat people. Especially somebody who I served on the council with.”

If she had been consulted about the move, Baldwin said she would have recommended Branch to serve on the board, in part, because he’s the council liaison to the GoRaleigh transportation board and serves as the chairman of the council’s transit committee. ...
— Anna Johnson - N&O
Brent Woodcox