Though Mayor Art Ward remains under heavy sedation in the intensive care unit at Bristol Hospital, tonight's City Council meeting is going on as scheduled.
Officials expect few fireworks despite the behind-the-scenes maneuvering about who should lead the city in the mayor's absence.
Republican Ken Cockayne, the acting mayor, said he is going to retain the post until the Jan.11 council, leaving open what might happen after that if Ward remains unavailable.
That would ice out city Councilor Kate Matthews, the first-term Democrat whom Ward planned to name as acting mayor at tonight's meeting.
The mayor has rotated the unpaid position among the councilors monthly since winning the city's top job in 2007.
Despite the big political stakes, politicians are treading carefully because none of them want to be seen as power hungry or even particularly political.
But whether they can pull that off remains uncertain.
There is a joint meeting of the council and Board of Finance at 6:45 this evening, followed at 7 by the council session.
There is a public comment period near the start of every council meeting.
It is not known if there might be an update condition tonight, though many officials are privately hoping for more details so they can figure more realisticaly what's needed in the coming weeks and months.
Ward, 63, has been in critical condition at Bristol Hospital since choking on a piece of steak on Dec. 4.
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