Charlotte City Manager Looking to Build Trust

CHARLOTTE, NC — Charlotte’s new city manager has plenty on his plate. Getting to know his new city and job. Dealing with council and the mayor.
Marcus Jones is also taking the reigns during a difficult time in the relationship between Charlotte government and the people it serves.

“I think the most important thing early on is listening to people,” says Jones. “It’s exactly what I say to the council as I was in the recruiting process.”

During the process that brought Marcus Jones from Norfolk, Virginia to his new post as Charlotte city manager the Queen City was suffering from the aftermath of another deadly officer-involved shooting. Jones was in touch with Charlotte city leaders during the period after the Keith Scott shooting. His most in-depth conversations were with the man leading Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police.

“Chief Putney is doing an excellent job being out in the community, trying to talk about some of the differences that are across Charlotte,” says Jones. “I think that’s going to help us address some of these issues.”

But those issues are still at the forefront for many in Charlotte’s African-American community. On Tuesday, 18-year-old Timothy Davis died from what CMPD says was a self-inflicted gun shot, after a SWAT standoff following an attempt to serve a warrant.

Some question that account, and are still expressing their distrust of police.

“We’re wondering, is it that serious of a situation to have an entire neighborhood, a quiet, peaceful neighborhood that people get along in, shut down over a situation like that?” asks Davis’ neighbor Calvin Watson. “So that’s one of our major concerns right there.”

Jones gets asked a lot about transparency, but says trust is the better word. He thinks the City of Charlotte has taken a good first step with a community action plan. But more is needed.

“I believe that the more that we can explain what we do, how we do it, build that trust, push information out, communicate,” says Jones. “I think it builds for a better rapport between the government and the residents.”

Jones took over as city manager on December 1st. He says he plans to get out of the office often, to talk with the community about building a better Charlotte.