CHARLOTTE, N.C. — City Manager Curt Walton announced Friday he will retire, stepping down from his position in December. Walton has worked as city manager since June 2007 and was instrumental in offering new non-discrimination protections for lesbian and gay city workers.
In March 2010, Walton moved forward with changes to the city’s human resources and personnel policies to include sexual orientation in the city’s non-discrimination protections. The move by Walton marked the first time city workers had been protected against discrimination based on sexual orientation. Walton was also an avid supporter of the recently-adopted domestic partner benefits plan for same-sex partners of city employees.
Activists in Charlotte were quick to praise Walton’s record on Friday. Scott Bishop, chair of the Mecklenburg LGBT Political Action Committee (MeckPAC) told qnotes via email that Walton “has been a great ally” to the Charlotte’s LGBT community. Walton, he said, worked “closely with Mecklenburg LGBT Political Action Committee … in implementing domestic partner benefits for Charlotte city employees in 2012 and adding sexual orientation to the employment non-discrimination policy of the City of Charlotte in 2010. ”
Bishop added, “We wish him well in his retirement.”
Despite Walton’s progressive moves, the Charlotte City Council has consistently refused to publicly consider LGBT-inclusion efforts. As a result, transgender workers remain without employment protections and several other topics remain unaddressed.
Walton has worked for the City of Charlotte for 27 years. Previously, he worked as an assistant town manager for Wake Forest, N.C., in addition to serving on the staff of the North Carolina House of Representatives. He began his career as an intern at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities Department.
In addition to Walton’s work for the city, he has also served on the boards of Charlotte Center City Partners, the Queens University of Charlotte Board of Visitors, the Levine Museum of the New South, the Champions for Education (Wells Fargo Golf Championship) and the Community Catalyst Fund. He is also a board member for the United Way of the Central Carolinas.
Mayor Anthony Foxx and the city council will begin a job search for Walton’s replacement in October.