The Madison Common Council held a meeting Tuesday night to discuss and vote on many important agenda points, including discussion on the Judge Doyle Square project and increasing parking fees.
But the most prominent item of the night was the election of a new Common Council president. The nominees included current President Ald. Denise DeMarb, District 16, President Pro Tempore Ald. Maurice Cheeks, District 10, and Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4.
Cheeks addressed the group by highlighting his work as a founder of Madison’s New Leader Council. He said his decision to run for president was influenced by his leadership role for young people in the community.
“Today I am stepping up to run for president, because how can I advocate the advice I give to the young people, telling them to step up and lead, and not follow it myself?” Cheeks said.
DeMarb voiced her concern with the steep learning curve involved in leadership positions.
“I myself feel like I’ve just found my footing in this position,” DeMarb said, “and would like to continue moving forward in our current direction.”
Verveer told the council he was asked to run for president by fellow colleagues, and just recently decided to accept the nomination.
“Until I started talking, I didn’t even know if I would accept this nomination,” Verveer said. “So I don’t actually have anything prepared like my colleagues did.”
After three ballots, no candidate had yet won a majority of the vote. City Attorney Michael May took the opportunity to explain the rules of voting, stating that one candidate must receive 11 votes before a president can be elected. After the sixth ballot, a decision had still not been reached.
Ald. Larry Palm, District 12, made a motion to change the voting system to an instant run-off, but this motion was denied. Five more ballots took place unsuccessfully before Ald. Steve King, District 7, proposed a point system change to the rules of voting. This motion was also denied.
After voting on 15 ballots, the council elected Verveer as president. He was last elected council president in 2007, according to the Madison Legislative Information Center.
In the second election of the night, Ald. Shiva Bidar, District 5, and Ald. Marsha Rummel, District 6, ran against each other for the position of Pro Tempore. After only one ballot Rummel was elected.