Divided Superior City Council Fails To Vote In New President

SUPERIOR, Wis. — A divided Superior City Council has failed to vote in a new council president.

The two nominees up for a vote Tuesday night were councilors Ruth Ludwig and Brent Fennessey.

The vote came down to five votes for Fennessey over 4 votes for Ludwig.

Councilor Dan Olson abstained, which kept a tie from happening, which also prevented Mayor Jim Paine from breaking a tie vote to elect a new council president.

Six votes were needed to elect a new president.

There were more than a dozen votes and motions at the council meeting that never ended with a new president Tuesday night.

Some councilors suggested a secret vote, which never happened.

There was even a suggestion to let Fennessey and Ludwig each pull a card from a deck to see which councilor had the highest card for an election win.  That idea never happened, and Mayor Jim Paine was against letting a new president be appointed by chance.

Mayor Paine released the following statement to FOX 21:

“The selection of a Council President falls to the Councilors themselves. It is the duty of each councilor to vote for the candidate they believe will best serve the Council and the City. They should do this with full transparency and accountability to the public. In the event of a tie, the decision falls to the Mayor and I take that duty very seriously. If the vote fell to me I would vote for the person I believe would best serve their fellow councilors well and would also best serve as the Mayor in the event I could not. I hope and expect the council will give our City a Council President as quickly as possible. I’m disappointed that they haven’t done so already.”

Councilor Craig Sutherland was voted in as vice president.

City Attorney Frog Prell says Sutherland will also assume the duties as president until further notice.

The president’s position is important because they appoint councilors to committees, and that person becomes acting mayor if the mayor can’t fulfill his duties in office.

It was unknown Wednesday night on when a future vote would take place to fill the position as council president.

It was also unknown what happens to upcoming committee seats that need to be filled with the recommendation from a council president.

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