What’s a Council President Pro Tem?

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At the last meeting of the city council on July 15, an unassuming little first-read ordinance was introduced that created the position of Council President Pro Tem. The purpose of this ordinance is to codify the practice of permitting At-Large Councilman Peter Brennan to chair the council meetings in Council President Mariano Vega’s absence, which occurred at various times during the last administration. The ordinance was introduced after Brennan failed to get enough votes to oust Vega as Council President at the start of the new council term; it must be passed on its second read this Wednesday to become binding.

In light of the public corruption scandal that has blown City Hall wide open, the position of Council President Pro Tem may take on a bit more significance. Vega, who was arrested last Thursday and charged with taking cash in exchange for political consideration of a purported development, indicated in a statement at this morning’s council caucus that while he does not intend to resign from his position, he may turn over the duty of chairing the council meetings to the President Pro Tem. Brennan is expected to be appointed to that position at Wednesday’s council meeting. Reached by phone this afternoon, Vega said that he is “considering” the option and that “the council will make a decision” on Wednesday. Brennan could not be reached for comment.

Reached by phone this afternoon, Ward E councilman Steven Fulop said he’s not satisfied with Vega’s proposal, and reiterated his call for Vega to resign from the council.