First meeting of the year, in an even year – always a fun Council meeting.
There are no initial study sessions or closed sessions, so we get right into it. The order of events in this meeting is a little different than usual, due to some unusual circumstances. The existing council will still be seated at the beginning of the meeting, and the new council gets swapped in at a midpoint, which makes things complicated. First up is approval of the minutes of our last meeting, which is scheduled at this point since it applies to the existing council, rather than the new one. Second up is certification of the November 2011 election results, recognizing the election of the three new councilmembers and the re-elected incumbent, as well as acknowledgement of the results for Measures A and B. But we don’t seat anyone just yet. We also hold our one closed session after the meeting, rather than before, so that the new Council can participate instead of the old one.
Following this, we have special orders recognizing the outgoing councilmembers, the outgoing vice mayor, and the outgoing mayor. We’re doing it before we seat the new councilmembers due to timing issues. Once we seat the new councilmembers and the Mayor steps down, I’ll be running the meeting as Vice Mayor until a new Mayor is elected. So if we don’t recognize the outgoing mayor and vice mayor first, then I’ll have to recognize myself. Likewise, if we waited until after a new mayor and vice mayor are elected, then someone new would have to do the recognition, without necessarily expecting it or having prepared anything to say. So we do the recognition at this point.
Following this, we swear in the three new people and re-swear Councilmember Whittum, and I move into the mayor’s spot as Mayor Pro Tempore (for maybe about five minutes) and we seat the three new folks. Then it’s on to new business.
First item is selection of a new mayor. Any of the seven councilmembers are eligible. Council policy requires a candidate to be nominated, but self-nominations aren’t allowed, and I’m not permitted to nominate someone unless nobody else is nominated. We vote until someone receives at least four votes. The new mayor will swap places with me at this point, and he or she will run the rest of the meeting.
Next up is selection of a new vice mayor. The process is pretty much the same as that for the mayor, except I’m not Mayor Pro Tempore at this point.
From this point forward, it’s pretty much a normal meeting, albeit a light one. The consent calendar is pretty light, just one contract, plus second reading of the CalPERS contract amendment ordinance.
Item 5 is a big one – our annual public hearing on potential study issues for the new year. People can advocate for their favorite study issues or propose new ones not on the list (which must be co-sponsored by two councilmembers to be considered). You can find the current list of proposed study issues here.
Item 6 is resolution of our intergovernmental relations assignments. We have individual councilmembers represent the city and/or the council on various regional committees, and this is when we decide who does what. This is a bigger deal than it was last year. Last year, it was mostly an issue of people giving up or getting assignments based on scheduling conflicts or lack of interest (of which there were few cases, if any). This year, everything gets shuffled around with the departure of two councilmembers and the arrival of three new ones. There are a couple of cases where multiple councilmembers want the same assignment, and we’ll need to resolve them. Most are resolved by a Council majority, but a couple are mayoral appointments.
Item 7, the last item, is the annual shuffling of Council seats. The Mayor sits in the center, and the Vice Mayor sits either on the right or left of the Mayor, to assist with running meetings (usually the right, for access to the speaker cards). The five remaining seats are selected by order of seniority, with seniority ties broken by the election vote counts. So the order is (removing whoever is elected as Mayor and Vice Mayor) Moylan, Spitaleri, Whittum, me, Meyering, Martin-Milius, and Davis. Woohoo! I’m no longer the least senior! Trivia point – this is the only issue where seniority counts for anything.
That’s it for the general meeting. We then have a closed session regarding the lawsuit blocking the Downtown, and then we’re done.