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Wednesday, March 13,2013

Wood for prez?

Rumors around City Hall suggest Councilwoman Carol Wood has the votes to be this year’s president

by Andy Balaskovitz
Wood

Thursday, Jan. 3 — Carol Wood may be elected Lansing City Council president today. Third Ward Councilwoman and former Council President A’Lynne Robinson would be vice president as part of the deal.


A Wood/Robinson nomination would nix an agreement some Council members made last year to install At-Large Councilwoman Kathie Dunbar as president this year in exchange for Brian Jeffries — like Wood, a critic of the Mayor Virg Bernero administration — in 2012.


Councilwoman Jessica Yorko confirmed Wednesday night that she learned of the deal through Robinson. Another well-placed source has also said that Wood will be the new president.


Wood, 62, was re-elected to a fourth term in 2011. She last served as Council president in 2003. She ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2009, losing to Bernero 67 percent to 32 percent.


The Council meets as Committee of the Whole at 1:30 p.m. today to nominate a president and vice president. If nominations make it out of committee, the full Council will vote later this afternoon. Last year’s nomination process spanned multiple committee meetings and more than a dozen 4-4 stalemate votes.


While Jeffries and At-Large Councilman Derrick Quinney last year agreed to nominate Dunbar for president in 2013, they’ve said recently that they want to discuss concerns they’ve had with her 2012 performance on Council, notably her meeting absences.


Dunbar is also one of the three loyal Council members to Bernero. Nominating Wood would be the complete opposite of a Dunbar presidency in terms of political relations with the administration.


Council members need five votes to become president and vice president. Councilwoman Jody Washington said last week that while she didn’t know of the deal, she would support Wood for president. Robinson, who didn’t return multiple calls for comment, likely would support Wood in exchange for the vice presidency. She also said recently that Dunbar’s attendance record, or the “lack thereof,” would be part of her decision.


Three votes are locked in for Dunbar — herself, Yorko and 2nd Ward Councilwoman Tina Houghton. That means Wood lastly needs the votes of Jeffries and Quinney to have enough for the nomination. If they’re as skittish today about Dunbar leading as they were two weeks ago, expect Wood to be holding the gavel in 2013.

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