Toledo City Council elected a new president Tuesday. Paula Hicks-Hudson will begin duties as Council President immediately.
Hudson was elected by an 8-4 vote along party lines. All eight Democrats supported Hicks-Hudson, while three Republicans and Council's only independent backed George Sarantou. The Lucas County Democratic Party recommended Hicks-Hudson take over the position.
After the vote, Sarantou offered a motion, which passed, to revise the vote as unanimous as a show of support for the new City Council president.
Mayoral candidate Joe McNamara decided last Tuesday to step down as Council president while running for mayor. He will remain as an at-large Council member and continue with responsibilities during his campaign.
McNamara was elected unanimously to be president by his colleagues at the start of this current Council term. He was previously elected by a different Council in 2009, to serve as Council president for the remainder of that year.
Three council members - Adam Martinez, Paula Hicks-Hudson, and George Sarantou - were nominated to fill McNamara's newly-vacant position. Council voted multiple times at its last meeting, but no candidate could obtain the required seven votes to win.
The resignation will result in a $4,500 pay cut for McNamara, and a corresponding increase for Hicks-Hudson.
Hicks-Hudson says she is going to use her experience, both as a member of Council and her previous work for Council as legislative director, to guide her as the new leader for the 12-member body. She says she wants to focus on the business of serving the public.
"I don't want to look backwards but to look forward, as ways we can work as a unit and work together to make sure we take care of the people's business," said Hicks-Hudson.
With a water rate increase proposal soon to be brought forward to City Council by the mayor's office, Hicks-Hudson says Council needs to weigh the ability of people to pay more for their water service, while also trying to address the need to make major repairs at the city's water treatment plant.
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