Tonight, my colleagues on the Common Council elected me to be President of the Council. I am honored, particularly considering that only two of the aldermen served with me prior to my self-imposed three years away from the Council.
To some degree, being President is an honorific. The first responsibility is to nominate alderman for various committees. That happened tonight. The other primary responsibility is to serve when the Mayor is absent.
However, I plan to assume a third responsibility. I want to work this coming year on building collegiality among my colleagues. Collegiality does not mean we have to agree. We should not when we do not. However, we should work with each other, and with City staff, professionally and amicably. In my first decade on the Council, that was a hallmark of the Council. Lately, that has not always been the case. Our three newest Council members have a lot to offer and have the opportunity to accomplish great things. However, they and the rest of us will be less effective if we deal with each other with suspicion and hostility. Federal and state lawmakers act that way, and see how functional they are.
At the beginning of each Council year, I give some thought about my role as a member of the Common Council. I made these remarks (click here) when I left the Council five years ago, and again when I ran two years ago. They still hold true today.