Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle will not run for mayor again after her term ends in December, she announced in a press release Wednesday.
Lavelle said she has loved her time as mayor, but she felt it was important to offer others the chance to lead Carrboro. Lavelle has been the mayor since 2013 but has been involved in local government for many years beforehand, working on town advisory boards in both Carrboro and Durham.
She said she feels confident leaving office in light of the progress she and the Town Council have made throughout her term.
Lavelle said she has worked on many significant projects during the course of her tenure, from the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic to pushing the progressive politics and reputation of Carrboro.
“I really feel like if people know anything about Carrboro, they know that we are a progressive beacon and that we stand up for our values,” Lavelle said.
She led Carrboro to be the first town to fight back against House Bill 2, a state law requiring public facilities to only allow people to use the restrooms designated for the sex on their birth certificates.
Susan Romaine, a Carrboro Town Council member, said Lavelle served as an incredible leader to Carrboro, especially in regards to the pandemic. She said Lavelle is leaving behind big shoes to fill.
“I have served on the Town Council mostly during a time of unprecedented economic and public health crises,” Romaine said. “I think it’s during a time like this that a leader’s true qualities are on display, and we have seen that in Mayor Lavelle.”
Romaine said Lavelle always came to meetings well-prepared, listened closely to views that differed from her own and was a great communicator with nearby municipalities and county departments.
Romaine is greatly appreciative of Lavelle’s ability to insert lightness and humor into difficult situations and to have an unparalleled work ethic in all times of crisis, she said.
Carrboro Town Council member Damon Seils said Lavelle has had a great impact on both the council and the whole town during her tenure as mayor.
“Lydia has led by example as a steady, collaborative, and thoughtful colleague,” Seils said. “Lydia's leadership has been a great gift to the town, and her service continues to have statewide impact.”
Lavelle also has a day job as a professor in the North Carolina Central School of Law, and she said she plans to continue teaching after her after leaving office. She said she is 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 individual to replace David Andrews, the Carrboro town manager, who just announced his retirement.
She said Carrboro is also receiving half of its COVID-19 relief funds from the federal government this year, and she is focusing on how best this money can aid local nonprofits and businesses to lift themselves out of the pandemic.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time as mayor,” Lavelle said. “I think there’s a lot I’m really proud of.”
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CLARIFICATION: A previous version of this article used incorrect wording to describe Lavelle not running for reelection. The article has been updated with the correct wording. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for this error.
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