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TUESDAY, Jan. 7 — After a year as vice president of the Lansing City Council, Peter Spadafore has taken a seat as president as Councilwoman Carol Wood passes on the city’s gavel.
“I hope to bring a consensus-building mentality toward City Council. This isn’t my agenda as president. It’s not your agenda. It’s our agenda. And I think we need to have open dialogue at this table,” Spadafore said. “I’d also like to see us dive deeper on the budget and really take a look at some of our unfunded liabilities and make sure that we’re setting the city on a good financial path — not just for the next two years, but for the next 20.”
Wood, meanwhile, announced her decision to retire from the City Council at the end of her current term in 2024. Wood, 68, was elected to her sixth term in November.
The Council voted 8-0 to elect Spadafore as president and Third Ward Councilman Adam Hussain as vice president.
“We’ve spent the last four years really prioritizing issues that have long plagued the southwest side of the city,” Hussain said. “We have a long way to go. We’ll continue to grow our team. We’ll continue to work diligently — that I can promise you. I certainly hope that in four years, we can say that we have arrived at a better place.”
Spadafore, 34, was elected to his first term to the Council in 2017 as an at-large member. He was previously president of the Lansing School Board and was unanimously chosen to serve as the Council’s vice president last year. He is an associate executive director for the Michigan Association of Superintendents and Administrators.
Hussain, 37, was elected to the City Council in 2015 and ran unopposed for another term last year. He has a bachelor’s degree in secondary education, a master’s degree in educational administration and works as a social studies teacher at Waverly Community Schools. He’s also the son of former Councilwoman Jody Washington.
Spadafore was the only Council member to publicly seek the presidency ahead of last night’s organizational meeting and had long been considered a favorite for the position, garnering early support from his colleagues. Hussain wasn’t seeking a leadership position but had remained open to the idea in recent weeks.
“Leadership is about ensuring teams stay together, working on problem solving important issues and empowering respective members of teams to use their significant talents to drive the ball down the field,” Hussain said previously. “I think it’s important for teams to choose those individuals who will lead.”
The presidency carries more than just ceremonial gavel authorities. Spadafore is now empowered to appoint committee members and control the city government agenda, ultimately deciding what specific issues land on the Council’s radar and what issues can be delayed — perhaps indefinitely.
The vice president and president are also paid more than other Council members. Spadafore will now be paid $26,640 annually — a boost from the $24,640 paid to Council members who are not officers. Hussain will earn $25,140.