Seeking a neutral voice to lead the city during an election year, Redding City Councilwoman Francie Sullivan relinquished her prospective term as mayor for 2014 and asked Rick Bosetti to hold the largely ceremonial post for a second straight year.
In a 3-2 split that broke along a now-customary division, Sullivan, Bosetti and Councilwoman Missy McArthur voted in favor of the reorganization while councilors Gary Cadd and Patrick Jones opposed it.
The council reorganization, undertaken each December, is typically a formality with the succession lined out well in advance. Last year, however, with Sullivan due to wield the mayor’s gavel, Bosetti joined with newly-elected Cadd and Jones to elect Jones as vice-mayor. At the time, Bosetti and Cadd justified the switch by saying that Jones, as second in command, would best represent the city in ongoing tax-sharing talks with Shasta County.
Even though the tax-sharing talks fizzled, Jones was in line to be Redding’s next mayor; he last held the post in 2010.
Sullivan began Tuesday night’s discussion by noting how Cadd described last year’s switch as a temporary change to move Jones into position as the city’s negotiator in the tax-sharing talks. “I’m looking forward to being mayor,” Sullivan said, her voice choking with emotion, “but I’m really looking forward to being vice-mayor under Rick Bosetti.”
Sullivan then made a motion to nominate Bosetti for mayor and herself as vice-mayor, with the understanding that the rotation would return to its historical pattern for 2015.
In nominating Bosetti, Sullivan admitted she was taking a risk—she’ll have to be re-elected in November before she can assume her long-awaited term as mayor—but she said 2014 would be a good year to keep Bosetti at the helm since he has already announced he will not seek re-election. Having Bosetti as mayor would keep things “civil and respectful,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan and Jones both intend to seek re-election.
McArthur, who seconded Sullivan’s motion, called the proposed lineup “a very even-handed idea” and she thanked Sullivan for essentially sacrificing her term as mayor in 2014, especially since “she got hosed last time.”
Neither Cadd nor Jones commented prior to the vote.
Greg Mann, a Tea Party activist, was not as reticent, telling the council the title of mayor should go the best person and “not those bought and paid for by special interests.” Mann said there are “two or three” on the City Council whose actions are not always in the best interests of the city, whereas a “truly independent thinker” like Jones is the best option for mayor.
In related action, Bosetti withdrew his proposal to temporarily suspend the council members’ suggestion section of each meeting until after the election. Bosetti said he had been “a little bit dismayed” at some recent comments and felt the suggestion section of the meetings was becoming a platform for impromptu campaign speeches.
However, after a discussion with McArthur—the council member who originally asked that the suggestion section be a part of each meeting—Bosetti said he was “good to go with it as is.”
Jon Lewis is a freelance writer living in Redding. He has more than 30 years experience writing for newspapers and magazines. Contact him at email@example.com.