Monday, April 15, 2013

Council president: Who will it be?

Posted By on Mon, Apr 15, 2013 at 12:55 PM

The decision about who will serve as president of the Colorado Springs City Council is just over 24 hours away, and it's anybody's guess who will prevail.

Jan Martin
  • Jan Martin

The front-runners are said to be President Pro Tem Jan Martin, who's in the midst of her second four-year term and is the only member with more than two years' experience on Council, and Keith King, who served 12 years in the state Legislature but is new to municipal government.

King says he wants Merv Bennett, elected at-large in 2011, to serve as president pro tem. Martin hasn't revealed her choice for No. 2, but Val Snider, also elected at-large in 2011, might be a good bet.

But what if each one gets four votes and a wildcard councilor votes for him- or herself? Then what?

Turning to the Rules and Procedures of City Council, we find the answer, which is reproduced in full below. The short version is that if more than two people seek to be president, and the first vote results in no majority (5), the person with the least number of votes must drop out. Another vote is then taken. The same procedure applies to the selection of the president pro tem.

Keith King
  • Keith King

There's no provision for a Council member to abstain, so when the newly sworn Council convenes tomorrow (Tuesday) at 1 p.m. at City Hall, a president will, indeed, be elected. (The newbies — Don Knight, Joel Miller, King, Helen Collins, Jill Gaebler and Andy Pico — will be sworn in at 10 a.m. Tuesday, also at City Hall.)

The president job is important, and here's why.

1. ORGANIZATIONAL MEETING-ELECTION OF OFFICERS
A. Newly elected members of Council shall take office at 10:00 a.m. on the third Tuesday of April following the election. The Council shall hold its first meeting on or after the third Tuesday of April. At that first meeting a President of the Council (President) shall be elected from a majority vote of the entire Council (five [5] members). In the event there are more than two (2) candidates for the office of President of the Council and no individual receives a majority vote, the candidate receiving the least number of votes shall withdraw until one (1) candidate receives a majority vote. (1982; 2000; 2011) (Charter § 3-20) The President of the Council will serve for two (2) years and may be removed from office by a vote of at least five (5) members. (2011)
B. The Council shall elect a member to serve as President Pro Tem in the absence of the President of the Council. The President Pro Tem shall be elected at the first meeting of the Council by majority vote of the entire Council (five members). In the event there are more than two (2) candidates for the office of President Pro Tem and no individual receives a majority vote, the candidate receiving the least number of votes shall withdraw until one (1) candidate receives a majority vote. The President Pro Tem will serve for two (2) years and may be removed from office by a vote of at least five (5) members. (2011)

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