Matthews is governed by a Mayor and a six - member Board of Commissioners. A nonpartisan election for Mayor is held every two years. Commissioner elections are also nonpartisan and all seats are at-large. Commissioners are elected for two year terms. The next election is November 2021.
The mission of the board is to represent the public interest, promote quick, courteous response to residents' problems, provide leadership and direction to the Town's future and ensure the present and future fiscal integrity of the municipal government. The Town has a Council-Manager form of government. Under this form of government, the elected board sets policies for the operation of the Town.
Town Council meetings are held the second and fourth Mondays of every month at 7 p.m. at Town Hall, 232 Matthews Station Street. The public is given an opportunity to speak at every meeting for four minutes on any topic. A sign up sheet is in the lobby before every meeting if you would like to address the board.
Currently serving on the Matthews Board of Commissioners are (pictured from left to right below): Mayor Pro-Tem Renee Garner, Commissioner Rev. Larry Whitley, Mayor John Higdon, Commissioners Dave Bland, John Urban, Jeff Miller and Barbara Dement.
After serving three terms as Commissioner and two as Mayor Pro-Tem, John Higdon was elected Mayor of Matthews in 2019. John graduated from South Mecklenburg High School and earned a degree in Aerospace Engineering from North Carolina State University. John is a partner in Supply Source Products, a valve and fitting distribution company, and currently serves as Chief Engineering Officer. John and his wife Penny have two grown children, Summer and Jed. The Higdons have resided in Matthews since 2001 and attend Matthews United Methodist Church. John has volunteered extensively in the community including at MARA, Boy Scouts, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, the Ashley Creek Homeowners Association, Men’s Shelter of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County Floodplain Task Force and the Matthews Appearance and Tree and Economic Development Advisory Committees. John currently serves on the Metropolitan Transit Commission (MTC) and Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization (CRTPO).
Renee Garner is the newcomer to the Board of Commissioners, serving her first term both on the Board and as Mayor Pro-Tem. As a third-generation Matthews resident, Renee and her husband, Charlie, are raising their two children, Mabel and Fox, in the home her grandfather built.
Renee’s town involvement began when she led the charge against the John Street widening. She organized her neighbors into Preserve Matthews, a citizen-led group interested in making effective transportation choices for Matthews. As a Commissioner, Renee aims to continue her work to preserve Matthews’ small-town charm through smart growth, community engagement, and environmental stewardship.
Renee is co-founder and co-owner of The Matthews Beacon, a local news website created to help the citizens of Matthews stay informed and engaged in their community. She serves the county on the southeast advisory board to the Mecklenburg Arts & Science Council, and she is the current president of the NC Herb Association. She has also spent many hours volunteering at Little Sugar Creek Community Garden, and the Matthews Community Farmers Market.
Dave Bland is serving his fifth term as a Matthews Town Commissioner. Dave’s wife Geri is a graduate of East Mecklenburg High School as are his three children Jocelyn, Greg, and Rondell. Dave was born in Winston-Salem North Carolina and graduated from Virginia Episcopal School in 1970. He went on to receive a Bachelor of Arts from Wake Forest University in 1974 and obtained a Juris Doctor from Wake Forest School of Law in 1978. Dave was admitted to the North Carolina State Bar in 1978 and to the South Carolina Bar in 1984. Dave is one of the three founding partners of the Matthews law firm of Weaver Bennett & Bland P.A. Dave has been engaged in an active civil trial practice for over 40 years. He is admitted to practice in all state and federal trial courts in North and South Carolina. Dave has handled multiple cases before the North Carolina Court of Appeals and the North Carolina Supreme Court. Dave is admitted to practice before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court. In addition to his law practice, Dave was a co-founder and is an officer in ValuePest.com of America, Inc. and was the founder, and member manager of Sustainable Energy Community Development Company, LLC. Over the years, he has been active in many local community organizations including MARA, the Charlotte Soccer Club (the Charlotte Soccer Academy), The Matthews Help Center, Matthews Rotary Club, Matthews Kiwanis Club, Eastern Mecklenburg Jaycees, The Matthews Lions Club, etc.
Barbara Dement is serving her second term as Commissioner. She served on the Town’s Planning Board for four years, ending her service on that board as the Chair in December 2017, to begin her role as Commissioner Barbara has served the community in various ways since moving to Matthews over a decade ago, including the role of Co-Director of Matthews Sister Cities Association. Born at Presbyterian Hospital (now known as Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center) in Charlotte, Barbara was raised in the neighboring town of Mint Hill, and received her education in Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s public schools. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management and Communication from Wingate University. Prior to her current career as a Life Care Consultant at Plantation Estates, she worked for 32 years at AXA-Equitable,and served as Assistant Vice President in the New Business Division at the National Operations Center, where she was responsible for providing multi-site organizational and global leadership critical for achieving strategic goals. During her professional career, she has received multiple awards for outstanding leadership and team building. Together, Barbara and her late husband have three children: her daughter Jennifer, Ed’s daughter Shannon, and son Thomas.
Jeff Miller is currently serving his seventh term on Town Council. He is the owner of Miller Time Property Management. He married Peggy in 2017 and combined, they have five grown children. Prior to being elected to the Board of Commissioners, he was Chairman of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and instrumental in getting the Four-Mile Creek Greenway approved. Jeff is an appointed member to both the Municipal Education Advisory Committee and the Matthews Committee on Education. He served as the Centralina Council of Governments Delegate for 10 years (2007-2013 & 2015-2019), and on the Matthews Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors from 2008-2011.
Jeff worked in management for 15 years at the Family Dollar Distribution Center in Matthews. He is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, bi-lingual in Spanish, and was an Executive Chef in large hotels in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Charlotte.
Jeff is proud of the fact that Matthews has become a popular destination. The vibrancy of our Town for young people, older residents, and local business owners is significant. Jeff is committed to work with the Mayor and other Commissioners to seek solutions to the challenges ahead of us, protect our quality of life, and remain fiscally responsible. He feels honored to be a part of Matthews’ past, present, and future.
Reverend Dr. Larry W. Whitley is serving his second term on the Board of Commissioners, having served from 2015-2017. Pastor Whitley was born and reared in Zebulon, N.C. where he graduated from James E. Shepherd High School in 1970. He earned a B.S. Degree in Art Education from North Carolina A&T State University in 1974. His basic training for The North Carolina Highway Patrol was received from UNC at Chapel Hill, North Carolina in 1975, and Administrative Officer training from North Carolina State University in 1991. He also attended Columbia Bible College, Columbia South Carolina in 1992 – 1994. He was licensed to preach the gospel in 1992 and ordained in 1993.
Pastor Whitley was employed with the N.C. Highway Patrol Department for 30 years. On March 11, 1999, Pastor Whitley was promoted to Captain, for Troop “E”, which was headquartered with the N.C. Highway Patrol in Salisbury, North Carolina where he managed ten of North Carolina’s one hundred counties which includes Cabarrus, Davidson, Davie, Forsyth, Montgomery, Rowan, Stanly, Stokes, Surry and Yadkin Counties. Captain Whitley retired from the North Carolina State Highway Patrol on April 30, 2003. He is presently the Pastor of Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church, located in Matthews, North Carolina, and has been for the past 22 years. He has been married to Rev. Chris Latham Whitley for over 47 years. He has two daughters, Kashonda and Kristy, five granddaughters, Brianna, Whitlei, Indya Rose, Infinity, Ashlynn, and one grandson Mylan, and two sons-in-laws, Rev. Timothy Cason and Ronald Spruill.
John R. Urban, AIA, is serving his fifth term on the Board of Commissioners, having served from 2009-2013, and 2015-present. John has been a Matthews resident for over 20 years and works as a licensed architect and owner of Urban Architectural Group PA in Matthews. He is also active in the community serving currently on the boards of The Matthews Free Medical Clinic, The Matthews Historical Foundation, EDAC- Economic Development Advisory Committee, and The QUAD - The Four Town Alliance of South Charlotte Communities. He also co-chairs The Red Brick Partnership for downtown Matthews. John and his wife, Terry have four daughters and two grandchildren.
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