Options for handling a mayoral vacancy discussed, but no agreement reached
Look for a special election this fall to fill the unexpired term of former District 4 alderman Dave Nold, now the city’s mayor. The date for the election may be set next week at the Aug. 18 common council meeting.
Although no vote last night on a proposed policy and practice statement on how to handle future vacancies, there appeared to be a consensus that the council wanted the special election as soon as possible.
Thursday night the aldermen were asked to first establish a policy and practice statement that would govern its actions when there was a vacancy on the council or in the mayor’s office. Having such a formal policy had been a request of several aldermen, but after about 40 minutes of give and take between the aldermen, along with some legal opinions offered by City Attorney Bill Chapman, the aldermen decided to table the matter until a future date.
Instead, they decided there was a pressing need for District 4 to be fully represented as soon as possible. They did not want to wait for a policy and practice statement that when presented for review Thursday night produced mostly friendly disagreements among the aldermen.
Instead, they agreed that the old unofficial procedure, which called for a special election if an alderman resigned his or her post within the first year of the their two-year term, was something they could live with now.
Nold had to resign from the council on July 21 after being appointed by appointed by the council to serve remainder of former Mayor Jim Daley’s term of office: 10 months.
Some of the discussion last night centered on if and when it would be appropriate to have the council, in the future, appoint a successor if a mayor resigned, which is what Daley did. Former mayor Floss Whelan said during the public comment session that opened the meeting that she could not recall having a mayor resign in term. But no one questioned Daley’s decision to leave for a job in Madison.
The unresolved issue is should the council president automatically fill out the unexpired term if a mayor resigns. There was some support for doing this, but others felt that leaving the council the option of appointing a mayor, which it did with Nold, was something worth further discussion. Also figuring into the dialog was support for holding a special election, especially if there was more than a year remaining on the mayor’s unexpired term of office.
Since there was no consensus last night about the details that would go into a policy and practice statement on mayoral vacancies, but a clear agreement that it did not want to delay holding a special election to replace Nold as the District 4 alderman, the council said, in effect, let’s shelve the statement and do what we need to do to get the election underway.
The first step was taken last night. The next steps will take place Tuesday, Aug. 18, at the second council meeting of the month. Then the aldermen will go back to debating what should be in a policy and practice statement on future vacancies.