Discontent with Common Council leadership over the past two years was not strong enough to usher in a new regime as the council voted Mark Clear, the current president pro-tem, to president.
Several council members had expressed frustration with Clear and Ald. Tim Bruer, who was president for the past two years. But Clear beat out a challenge from Ald. Marsha Rummel 11 to 8 (with Ald. Julia Kerr absent).
Ald. Lauren Cnare was unanimously elected president pro-tem.
Clear acknowledges that some have been unhappy with council leadership, but says "I have a somewhat different style than Bruer."
He says he'd like to "build the capacity of the council" by improving its staff resources. He also says he hopes to address some of the complaints about communication, possibly by holding a council retreat. "We could discuss not specific issues but the way the council functions, its relationship with executive staff -- those big picture questions that we can't really look at when we're doing the day to day business," he says.
Rummel says she didn't think she had the votes to win, but was pleased she got the support she did.
"I think Mark has heard some of the criticism and would acknowledge some of them and make some improvements toward communicating with the council," he says. "It would be good if we could spend more time hearing about each other's districts and finding out what's going on and the big questions we face."
"It's a big job and I think Mark is up to it," she adds. "I hope he'll be independent and represent the council."