December 5, 2010

The rules for an acting mayor (updated on Monday)

The city charter says that whoever has been designated as acting mayor "shall have the powers and discharge the duties of the mayor during the absence of the mayor from the city or his inability to perform the duties of the office except as otherwise specifically provided."
What that means is that as long as Mayor Art Ward is unable to perform his official duties, whether that's another couple of days or a longer time, the acting mayor basically steps into the role.
Since city Councilor Ken Cockayne is the acting mayor, a fluke of timing, he is able to do whatever Ward could do as the city's leader.
There is no provision for a special election or any other way of picking another leader until the next municipal election.Only the mayor can designate the acting mayor.
At this point, of course, almost everyone, including Cockayne, is rooting for Ward to get out of the hospital quickly and return to work soon.
But in the worst case, if Ward can't return to his duties, Cockayne would be acting mayor until next November.

Update: This post isn't quite right.
A different section of the charter says that if there is a vacancy for mayor more than nine months before the next municipal election -- before Feb. 8, that is -- then there must be a special election.
It isn't clear to me, though, that if someone is acting as mayor but the mayor is recovering from a health problem of any sort the special election section would apply. After all, there isn't really a vacancy. There is merely an acting mayor while the real mayor recovers.
This could wind up being a touchy point if Ward's recovery is slower than we all hope.
The easiest answer, of course, is for the mayor to get better swiftly. Let's hope that happens.
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at


Anonymous said...

KEN THIS IS YOUR CHANCE TO CLEAN HOUSE. If anybody could do it you can. Stop all overtime in the city and start the layoffs to make up for the union raises.

Anonymous said...

Could we just keep the replies to Steve's updates focused on praying for Art Ward? This is not a time for politics.

Anonymous said...

Ken, don't screw things up too badly. Art WILL be back!!!

Anonymous said...

Just one comment. The press was incorrect when they said Cockayne would continue to be mayor until the general election in November. There would be a special election held if, God forbid, something were to happen to our mayor. Also, Cockayne cannot just go in and "clean house". Everything must be run by the council. Again, let's pray for the full recovery of our mayor and pray for his family, too.

Steve Collins said...

8:09 is right. See my update to the original post.

Anonymous said...

It's a relief to know that cockayne needs the approval of his idiotic proposals from the city coucil...We get to know which of them are willing to go down with him. It's easy to do the talk, let's see if he can do the walk. He is for new blood and cleaning house fast and furious. Let's see what hapens.