As you might expect, there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes power politicking going on at City Hall while officials wait to find out if Mayor Art Ward will return.
City Councilor Kate Matthews, who was designated as the next acting mayor by Ward, said tonight that she is determined “to stay above the fray.”
“There is no need for the machinations that have gone on this week,” Matthews said.
Matthews, a first-term Democrat, said her thoughts and prayers are with Ward and his family. She said she hopes he makes “a speedy recovery” and returns to work.
While everyone waits, she said, there’s no reason to shift gears at City Hall.
“The city is going to run itself,” Matthews said, if its department heads and staff are simply allowed to do their jobs.
“There is no reason for any acting mayor to assume the mantle of the office” rather than simply doing what’s necessary to keep the city moving in the direction Ward sought, she said.
She said that Ward’s last official act as mayor before his collapse Saturday was to confirm the agenda and appointment list for the Dec. 14 council meeting.
That included who should be the acting mayor.
Matthews said that Ward’s agenda and appointments “should be carried out.”
“They are the clearest manifestations of the intentions of the mayor,” Matthews said.
But it isn’t at all clear that city Councilor Ken Cockayne, the acting mayor, agrees. And as the acting mayor, he has assumed all of the power that a mayor has under the charter – including the right to name the acting mayor.
There is, in short, nothing to prevent him from chucking Ward’s list and staying on as mayor until Ward returns.
There’s suddenly some high drama involved in what’s going on in the mayor’s office even though the mayor himself remains in the intensive care unit at Bristol Hospital, presumably unaware of all of it.
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