Presidential Powers

Ward 5 Councillor is the unanimous choice; Novoselsky is Vice President

-By Seth Daniel

[email protected]

n ew Council President John Powers and new Council Vice President Iira Nnovoselsky pose with City Clerk Aashley Melnik after Monday night’s organizational meeting at City Hall.

Councillor John Powers took the new Council President post Monday night, and Councillor Ira Novoselsky won the vice president honors by a flip of the coin – literally – in a tight race with Councillor Arthur Guinasso.

Powers will take the reins for the second time in his 10-year career as the Ward 5 councillor, succeeding Councillor-at-large Tony Zambuto.

Powers won on a unanimous vote that had pretty much been decided for several weeks. In choosing Powers, it is a unique choice as he will most likely end up in the mayor’s seat on an interim basis at some point in 2011. That’s because just about everyone believes now that Mayor Tom Ambrosino will most likely leave for a state government position before the end of 2011.

Per the City Charter, Powers would fill in as interim mayor until a special election or a general election is completed.

A much more interesting note was the election of the Council Vice President – a down-to-the-wire battle between Councillors Ira Novoselsky and Arthur Guinasso.

In that election both Guinasso and Novoselsky had secured five votes apiece and they were at an impasse.

Councillor Stephen Reardon was the swing vote, the he got out of that pressure cooker by flipping a coin – literally.

“I find it impossible to make the decision based on their  qualifications because they’re both very qualified so I had to resort to other means,” said Reardon. “As a result I was forced to make the choice by flipping a coin. So about 30 minutes ago I went ahead and flipped a coin in front of Madam City Clerk. As a result, Councillor Stephen Reardon votes for Councillor Ira Novoselsky.”

After the 6-5 vote concluded, with Reardon casting the deciding vote, all councillors except George Rotondo switched their vote to Novoselsky.

Following that, Councillor Zambuto made the ceremonial transfer of power to Powers.

“I’ve found him to be a man of honesty and integrity,” said Powers of Zambuto. “It was either ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ There was never any hedging with him to a person.”

Zambuto said he was proud to have served and he was always treated with respect during his year as president.

“Everyone cooperated,” he said. “we might have had a couple of minor disagreements, but this body acted professionally. Everyone treated me with respect.”

Powers accepted his position with a few short comments, mostly focusing on the City’s recent accomplishments – such as the new Police and Fire Station, the new schools and the investment in infrastructure.

“Much has been done without ever having to go to the residents of this city for a Proposition 2 1/2 override, as has been done is so many other communities,” he noted.

The Council will meet for their first regular meeting on Jan. 10th at 6 p.m.

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