Tonight, John Talbott plans to recommend Councilwoman Cherie Rodgers as mayor pro tem.
His first meeting as Spokane’s new mayor may provide the first obstacle of his term.
At least two council members have said they can’t support Rodgers’ nomination because she is too inexperienced to be a stand-in mayor.
“That person has to be one with experience, one who … knows the history, the protocol,” said Councilwoman Roberta Greene. She added that since Talbott is new to public office, his mayor pro tem should be more familiar with the role.
Councilman Jeff Colliton also has said he can’t support Rodgers because of her short tenure on the council.
Rodgers was appointed to the council in January 1997 and won her first four-year term in November.
But Talbott said he chose Rodgers because she has a strong following in the community.
“I selected the person I thought was the most capable,” Talbott said, noting the council chose her to replace Chris Anderson when he resigned in December 1996. “She has excellent credentials. They selected her.”
Rodgers finds the debate over her nomination comical.
“I’m almost 50 years old. I lost my husband to cancer. I lived on a reservation,” she said. “Somehow, running a meeting doesn’t seem all that difficult.”
Councilman Rob Higgins - who won re-election to the council after an eight-year hiatus - said he’ll support Rodgers’ nomination. Customarily, the council approves whomever the mayor recommends, he said.
“I have a very simple philosophy: The mayor selects the mayor pro tem,” said Higgins, who served during his first term as mayor pro tem under Jim Chase.
While Talbott can nominate his stand-in, he must get the council’s OK. Council members could recommend and approve a different candidate.
In other business, the council will consider taking a $1.2 million loan from solid waste reserves to pay Steve and Leslie Ronald for their riverfront property.
Council members voted last month to pay the Ronalds $1.9 million for their slip of land just north of the downtown Spokane library.
The money must be repaid by September and would come from several sources, including the parks and library departments, the general fund and sewer construction fund.
, DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: MEETING A briefing for the council will begin at 3:30 p.m. today in the lower-level conference room of City Hall, 808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m.