It turns out the election of the President Pro Tem of the Council wasn't interesting at all. Despite rumors that Larry Palm and Marsha Rummel were interested in pursuing the position, when it came time to vote, only Shiva Bidar-Sielaff was nominated, and thus she won the election. Similarly, Ald. Lauren Cnare was elected Council president, as expected.
Cnare, who represents an East Side district, and Bidar-Sielaff, who represents much of the UW campus area, were both Mayor Dave supporters during the election. Therefore, having them at the helm of the Council represents a significant change from the past two years, in which the mayor has had his biggest allies, Tim Bruer and Mark Clear, in leadership positions.
It will be interesting to see if Cnare and Bidar establish a close working relationship with the new mayor. Will Cnare be able to get alders "lunch with the mayor," in exchange for support on certain policies, as former Ald. Thuy Pham-Remmele alleges Cnare offered to do for her four years ago?
Much of that depends on how Soglin chooses to work with the Council. Although he told me the other week that the Council president is the first person he will go through in his dealings with the legislative branch, that does not mean he will rely on the president as a staunch ally, as was the relationship between Cieslewicz and Clear.
There is always the chance that the Council president will return to the largely symbolic role it occupied in the years before the Bruer-Clear era, in which Council presidents rarely ran for re-election after one year.
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