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Farmer seeking mayor pro tempore post
Nov 11, 2005 12:00 am
November 10, 2005
With a bare-knuckled election season barely behind city voters, a new political battle is already brewing in Lebanon city government over the Council's mayor pro tempore position.
Ward 3 Councilor and losing mayoral candidate William Farmer said Wednesday he will likely seek the post, which serves as a stand-in for Mayor Don Fox when the mayor is unable to chair Council meetings.
However, the mayor pro tempore post became more involved in recent years after Lebanon City Council designated the post as the legislative body's oversight position over the city budget and operations.
City councilors redefined the pro tempore spot, giving it the added responsibility after a very public and negative audit of city finances by the State Comptroller's office in 2003.
Farmer, who received 46 percent of the vote citywide as a mayoral candidate, said it was a "high probability" he would seek the pro tempore job. Farmer called the position's newer oversight responsibilities and responsibilities to report to the City Council on financial matters "an excellent opportunity to combat waste in government."
"It's became a very important position a couple of years ago," Farmer said. "We changed it after the city audit. It allows the Council to request the numbers, and it is a good mechanism for fighting waste."
Ward 4 Councilor Joe Hayes has also been mentioned as a possible candidate according to Council members reached by The Lebanon Democrat on Wednesday.
The six-member Council votes on the position each year, and for half of the legislative body it will be a first-time experience. Three of the city's six city councilors were turned out in last month's elections.
More changes may be in the offing for the mayor pro tem spot, with a newly elected councilor and veteran member expressing concern over the post
Ward 5 Councilor-elect Haywood Barry and Ward 6 Councilor Kathy Warmath said they had reservations about sections of the City Charter that made the appointed mayor pro tempore the full-time mayor in the event the current mayor were to resign, become unable to serve or die.
Barry and Warmath said they would explore seeing the charter changed with Warmath adding she has already asked City Attorney Andy Wright to look into the legalities of such a move.
"I'm not sure in the current environment I want to be choosing someone as mayor," Warmath said. "Based on the concept of the will of the people, I'm not sure we need to be doing things that way."
Managing Editor Clint Brewer can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 13 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.