Is the City Council's Republican Super Majority in danger? In the short term the answer appears to be yes.
At a recent meeting of the incoming Republican Council members it was decided that District 2 Councilman Mark McGrath would be the Council's President Pro Tempore.* Third District Councilman Dean Bodnar was not at the meeting due to a scheduling conflict.
Everyone knew, before the meeting, that Bodnar desired the position. However, at the meeting, people were informed that Bodnar had withdrawn his name for the position. McGrath was the selected.
Bodnar is not pleased. The fourth term councilman expressed anger not at losing the position to McGrath but rather at the blatant lie that he had withdrawn his name from contention.
According to the Charter, the President Pro Tempore:
...shall perform the duties of the President of the City Council in the case of the absence of the President of the City Council or in the case of a vacancy in the office of the President of the City Council. The President Pro Tempore shall have the salary of a Council member and, in addition, such further amount as may be set by the Council.
Sounds like a heavy lift. In fact, the duties of the Pro Tempore are generally only exercised during the Wiltshire family vacation.
Still, this is a misstep by incoming Council President Carmella Mantello. Aside from fetal alcohol syndrome, there is really no excuse for placing Mark McGrath in any position of authority. He is prickly and obnoxious and past-due for distemper shots for the last three years. Furthermore, if McGrath disagrees with the majority he will not hesitate to publicly embarrass Mantello and the other council members. After all, he does not hesitate to publicly embarrass himself.
On the other hand, Bodnar is pragmatic, reasonable and well-liked by both sides. The choice was clear and Mantello exercised poor judgment that does not bode well for the future.
Bodnar has indicated that the Council now has three factions: Democrats, Republicans and Bodnar.
McGrath is not officially the Pro Tempore. The actual vote occurs at the organizational meeting which, pursuant to the Charter, takes place in January. Will McGrath be voted Pro Tempore at the January meeting? If yes, the Republicans will no longer have a veto-proof majority. If no, Mantello looks weak. Not good choices for someone who has not spent a day at Council President.
*Pro Tempore is from the Latin meaning in support of (pro) and a light, flaky batter used in frying fish (tempore). McGrath, if successful, will be battered at the organizational meeting in front of friends and family.