Higgins Again Ann Arbor Mayor Pro Tem

Marcia Higgins (Ward 4) will serve as mayor pro tem for the city of Ann Arbor for the next year – as she has for the last three years.

According to the city charter, the Ann Arbor city council must elect from its members a mayor pro tem “at its first meeting after the newly elected members have taken office following each regular city election…” That meeting was Nov. 19 – the first meeting for new councilmembers who won their seats in the Nov. 6 general election. The election of Higgins as mayor pro tem was unanimous.

New councilmembers include: Sumi Kailasapathy (Ward 1), Sally Petersen (Ward 2) and Chuck Warpehoski (Ward 5). Petersen won the August Democratic primary against incumbent Tony Derezinski, while Kailasapathy and Warpehoski won their respective Democratic primaries against Eric Sturgis and Vivienne Armentrout, when incumbents Sandi Smith and Carsten Hohnke did not seek re-election. Petersen and Kailasapathy were unopposed in the general election, while Warpehoski prevailed against Republican Stuart Berry.

The mayor pro tem acts as mayor when the elected mayor is unable to do so. Mayor John Hieftje won election on Nov. 6 for a seventh term, against independent Albert Howard. When acting as the mayor, the mayor pro tem enjoys all duties and responsibilities of mayor except that of the power of veto. With respect to other duties and responsibilities of the mayor as compared with other councilmembers, they consist largely of serving as emergency manager, making nominations to boards and commissions, presiding over meetings, and fulfilling a ceremonial function.

The mayor pro tem’s salary is the same as other councilmembers – $15,913 per year. Although the local officers compensation commission recommended in 2007 that the mayor pro tem be given additional compensation, the city council that year rejected that part of the commission’s recommendation.

Also at the Nov. 19 meeting, the council determined the order of succession to the mayor. It’s first seniority-based with a secondary sorting based on alphabetical order by last name. The order of succession, with the councilmember’s year of election, is as follows: Margie Teall (Ward 4 – 2002), Mike Anglin (Ward 5 – 2007), Sabra Briere (Ward 1 – 2007), Christopher Taylor (Ward 3 – 2008), Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3 – 2009), Jane Lumm (Ward 2 – 2011), Sumi Kailasapathy (Ward 1 – 2012), Sally Petersen (Ward 2 – 2012) Sally Hart Petersen (Ward 2 – 2012), Sumi Kailasapathy (Ward 1 – 2012) and Chuck Warpehoski (Ward 5 – 2012).

This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall, located at 301 E. Huron. A more detailed report will follow: [link]