Mayor Nancy McFarlane returned to the city council Tuesday and wasted no time expressing her displeasure at how her colleagues conducted themselves during her monthslong absence, calling out political gamesmanship and asking her colleagues to “get back on track.”

McFarlane has been recovering from multiple back surgeries since April. While she was gone, the council vigorously debated a rezoning case that would allow John Kane to build the city’s tallest tower but took no action. Discussions about intervening in the RDU Airport Authority’s quarry deal with Wake Stone also reached a boiling point. 

McFarlane apologized for her absence, noting that her recovery took much longer than she anticipated. 

“I want to acknowledge the impact of that gap, appreciating, knowing that you elected me to lead, and I was unable to be fully present in that sacred contract,” McFarlane said. “I regret that this has happened, and also regret the impact it’s had on the productivity and, frankly, civility of this council.”

She asked her fellow council members to “embrace a tone of collaboration” and “not campaign from the table” ahead of the October election.

McFarlane announced earlier this year she would not seek reelection. However, campaign season is well underway for the six incumbents seeking reelection. (Dickie Thompson is not seeking reelection.)

“It is important that we govern, not play politics,” McFarlane said. “As mayor and council, we set the tone for the city. We have an official code of conduct, and even if you didn’t vote for it, you are obligated to follow it.”

Council member David Cox cast the sole vote against the code in 2017 and has been called out for seeking investigations into the city’s public utilities director and former planning commission chairman. 

“Let’s not let the toxic climate of the national political landscape poison the local well,” McFarlane said.

Contact staff writer Leigh Tauss at 

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One reply on “Raleigh Mayor McFarlane Returns, Chastises Council for Lack of Civility”

  1. In a statement showing her complete lack of self-awareness, Mayor Nancy McFarlane asks for cooperation, mutual respect, no politics from the table and following the code of conduct while at the same time she violates that code of conduct, if not in letter at least in spirit, by taking a political swipe at another member of council from the council table.

    Leigh Tauss, in her reporting, notes the political swipe taken by Nancy at David Cox but never notes Nancy’s hypocrisy or the apparent violation of the code of conduct for her readers.

    What an amazing way to return to the council chamber just to remind us how divisive she actually is.

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