Cockayne, a second-term Republican, also said that he would pick someone else to serve as acting mayor for the city after Jan. 11. He gave no indication whom he might select.
Cockayne said he is acting mayor now as "a result of circumstances and nothing more." He just happened to be acting mayor this month, on a schedule that has rotated among the council, month by month.
He said he has "no intention" to serve indefinitely or "to impose any agenda, mine or otherwise" on city government during the absence of Mayor Art Ward.
Ward remains in intensive care at Bristol Hospital. He is in critical but stable condition. There has been no formal word from the mayor's family or doctors about his prognosis.
Cockayne said he has "reached out" to the entire council in recent days to discuss how best to handle the situation. He said that "some have chosen not to return my calls."
Matthews was chosen by Ward to serve as acting mayor this month. Her name is on the appointments list that Ward approved before his Dec. 4 collapse. McCauley is the senior Democratic councilor.
Cockayne said in his statement tonight that to "maintain consistency" he would use his power as the acting mayor to revoke Matthews' appointment.
He said he will stay on through Jan. 11 and then pick "another council member" as acting mayor if Ward has not returned.
Cockayne said he will rely on the good will of his colleagues and "together we will roll up our sleeves and do the city's business the best we can."
Cockayne said he will "pray for the quick recovery of the mayor" and expressed his "sincere hope that he makes a full recovery and returns to work as quickly as possible."
You can see Cockayne's entire statement on a PDF here.
I'll try to post the reaction to Cockayne's comments in a little while.****
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