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Wednesday, February 6,2013

That was fast

Bernero knocked off dais as arch-enemy City Council President Carol Wood takes time out of her busy schedule to reorganize seating. "Honeymoon over," mayor says.

by Andy Balaskovitz

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero no longer has a seat on the City Council dais. He’ll now sit at a table on the floor when he comes to a meeting.

A Friday memo from Council President Carol Wood to fellow Council members and the administration does not say why the mayor’s seat will be occupied by the internal auditor. Wood could not be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.

Since being elected Council president a month ago, Wood has publicly offered to buy the mayor breakfast and make him chicken soup while he was sick as a sign of civility. The auspicious start to 2013 after the historically hostile politics between Wood and Bernero appears headed back to its old ways, Bernero said. 

He’s also upset over Wood’s handling of a Council issue involving Councilwoman Kathie Dunbar, a Bernero ally. “The shades of old Carol are coming through,” he said. “She offers me chicken soup one night and the next day kicks me off the freakin’ dais? What kind of a welcome is this?

“It’s been less than a month and the honeymoon is over.”

In her memo, Wood also explains that she rearranged Council member seating so that at-large members sit to her right and ward representatives sit to her left. She cited historical reasons for this, but also: “We have witnessed both the public and the press pitting one side against the other. Due to these concerns we will be changing around the seating arrangements on the dais to strike a better balance.”

The new lineup just happens to separate the three Council members from each other who have the strongest record of supporting the administration: Kathie Dunbar, Jessica Yorko Tina Houghton. That should be fun for them.

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