HUNTERSVILLE – Karen Bentley will not seek a fifth term on the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners in next year’s election. 

Bentley’s Nov. 11 announcement comes as she recently completed coursework for a master’s degree in healthcare administration from UNC-Chapel Hill, which she pursued while serving on the commission.

“Both learning experiences required a great deal of work, but each provided accomplishments for which I am very proud,” Bentley said. “It’s hard to predict what will be in the next chapter of my professional life or public service, but I’m excited about what may lie ahead.”

The Huntersville resident represents District 1, an area spanning from Lake Norman to the Mountain Island and University City areas of Charlotte.

She’s especially proud of her role opening Grand Oak Elementary School in Huntersville.

“With the 2008 recession threatening the delay of the construction of ‘Stumptown Elementary,’ I worked tirelessly with county finance staff to secure a unanimous vote from the BOCC to move forward with the financing and construction of Grand Oak Elementary to secure an opening date of August 2013 – the original planned opening date of the new school,” she said. 
Bentley also advocated for reinstating swimming on Lake Norman, securing an unanimous vote to change the county’s policy on public access swimming.

Lake Norman is expected to open a public beach in 2015. Capital dollars have been approved and the beach design is in process. 

Other accomplishments include: 

• Being tapped to serve on the county manager search committee;

• Spearheading collaborative efforts to secure a victim’s advocate for northern Mecklenburg County; and

• Leading the charge to fix the 2011 flawed revaluation, resulting in a new assessor and refunds for shortchanged citizens.

“Her masterful leadership in helping to resolve the revaluation debacle is a testament to what an effective voice she has been for District 1 through the years,” Cornelius Mayor Lynette Rinker said.

Rinker became a fan of Bentley’s at a coffee event during her first county commission campaign.

“I think what drew me to her was her willingness to listen and understand and act,” Rinker said. “She has been an outstanding county commissioner especially given that she has had to work across the aisle as the minority party.”