After unanimously selecting Councilman John Taylor as their new mayor, the newly composed City Council cast its first 3-2 vote when the majority decided Councilman Derek Reeve did not deserve to be mayor pro tem.
The mayor pro tem chairs meeting and cuts ribbons when the mayor is unavailable. It’s also the person who usually ascends to the mayoral seat the following year.
The council voted Councilman Sam Allevato, who served as mayor as recently as 2011, to be the mayor pro tem. He said he didn’t consider the designation something that was, by definition, rotated.
“It’s a position you achieve by merit,” he said.
Allevato, Taylor and outgoing mayor Larry Kramer all said they wished they could vote for Reeve as mayor pro tem, especially because they all seem to work congenially during the meetings despite differences of opinion on the issues.
However, their problem was with statements that would later appear in the media, they said.
“That does not read camaraderie, does not read teamwork,” Allevato said. “Until I see that we can disagree, be gentlemen up here … I cannot support that behavior. I wish things can be different.”
Taylor felt the same about the Thursday- and Friday-morning quarterbacking.
“That has always been bothersome,” he said. “Let’s work together as a team. That’s the main thing for the betterment of this community.”
Reeve said, while he wasn't expecting he would get the vote, he wasn’t clear to what his fellow councilmen were referring, other than just the general rhetoric of an election season.
“I don’t see my comments the way they were portrayed. The only thing I can think of is in context of elections, but that’s a two-way street,” Reeve said. “I’ve thought I’ve been nothing but respectful, and truthfully, I don’t feel it’s gone the other way in every instance.”
He added that the move could be considered a "slap in the face" to the thousands of Reeve and Byrnes supporters.
For Kramer, it was because of their difference on the issues, citing support of the Boys & Girls Club, the schools resource officer and the groundwater recovery plant, that he could not vote for Reeve.
“I just have too many issues that you and I do not agree on to make me not support you,” Kramer said.
Before the vote, Byrnes asked the council to consider the statement that they were making.
“It would be an act of statesmanship for Mr. Allevato if he will step aside and allow Mr. Reeve to grow as a mayor pro tem,” he said.
Allevato said he would not.
“I can assure the folks out there, I wish it could be different,” Allevato said.