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Score. Councilmen Brian Maienschein and Kevin Faulconer and Councilwoman Donna Frye have issued a memo expressing their “strongest opposition” to the idea that the current City Council might appoint a new council president or a temporary “presiding officer.”
Remember, a couple of the almost-completely lame, lame-duck members of the City Council — and those hoping to install Councilman Ben Hueso as the next council prez — have been angling to do this before the new City Council is seated.
The new City Council, of course, should decide its own president. After all, the only merit behind the idea that the president should have any power above his or her colleagues is based on the idea that they earn the support of their colleagues — not lame-ducks trying to leave their mark on their successors.
It was logical to think Faulconer and Frye would want the new council to have a say — they’ll get a vote no matter what. But it’s noble for Maienschein to essentially advocate that he not be involved in this decision.
Here’s Faulconer, Frye and Maienschein’s argument:
Council precedent and the principles of sound governance and democracy advise against the participation of departing council members in the selection of leadership for the new council.
They face a bit of a problem. At the first City Council meeting after the new council members are inaugurated, someone will have to run the meeting. Both the current council president and his deputy — Scott Peters and Jim Madaffer, respectively — will be gone. There’ll be no one to run the meeting.
They suggest that Liz Maland, the city clerk, open the meeting and direct everyone to the first item: the election of the new council president.
And throwing a bone to City Councilman-elect Carl DeMaio and Frye, the memo suggests that the docket should also include “any proposed changes to the Permanent Rules of the City Council.”
We all know what that means.
Of course, further illustrating the irony of all this: It’s up to Council President Scott Peters to decide if this should indeed be discussed.
I called to get his thoughts on this before I had even heard of this memo. His aide said he’d return my call tomorrow. I will look forward to it. And it will give us something to talk about while we wait for the big news of Election Day.
It may not seem like a huge deal considering everything happening Tuesday, but the fact is, few things will affect the way the city runs as much as who is council president or what role that person has. And the decision will be made in coming weeks.