Waxhaw restricts mayor’s spending after DWI arrest

WAXHAW – Leaders in Waxhaw are considering what actions to take against Mayor Daune Gardner after she was arrested Monday, June 10, and charged with driving while impaired for the second time while holding office.

Police said Gardner, 41, was seen speeding and crossing the centerline on N.C. 16 in Waxhaw around 12:30 a.m. on Monday, after which tests showed her blood alcohol level at .18, according to reports. The legal limit to drive is .08. Gardner was released from custody on a written promise she would appear in court on Aug. 15 for driving while impaired and driving left of center charges.

Gardner also was charged with suspicion of driving under the influence in 2008 in South Carolina – charges multiple local media outlets have quoted the mayor as saying were expunged.

Gardner apologized to commissioners and Waxhaw citizens at the town’s board meeting Tuesday, June 11, calling Monday’s arrest “embarrassing” and saying she hopes the town can work together to move past these issues.

“I would like to apologize to you, the people of Waxhaw, my supporters and friends, the board and the staff,” she said.  “It is a private challenge that I face, and I will be addressing that in a private manner.  I hope that each of you is able to forgive me for the condition that I have put us in with my actions.  I hope that we can move forward and work together for the betterment of our community.”

The town won’t move forward without taking some steps to address Gardner’s alleged actions, first. Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday night to audit the mayor’s town credit card expenses and suspend her credit card use until the audit is finalized. Gardner will be put on a reimbursement system like other members of the board for now.

Commissioners will begin the process of censuring Gardner during their next meeting.  The censure process is a formal reprimand from a government body that serves as little more than an embarrassing slap on the wrist and carries no loss of power or authority.  Town councils don’t have the power to remove mayors in North Carolina.

“This is not something I take any great pleasure in saying, however I believe it has come upon us to take notice of certain recent events,” Commissioner Mike Stewart said.  “… I would like to initiate the censure process in which case we can discuss all of the ins and outs on the next agenda.  I think today to do something like that would be a little irresponsible of us considering not having facts.”

In addition to her recent charges, Gardner will appear in Union County District Court on Friday, June 14, for speeding charges and in Anson County District Court on June 24, a Monday, for speeding, a license plate frame/cover violation and driving without an operator’s license, according to court dockets.

This is the mayor’s second term in office, which is scheduled to end in 2015.

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