Englewood Mayor Doubles Up As Council President

5 January 2011 41 views No Comment

From: The Record, Tuesday, January 4, 2011 by Giovanna Fabiano, Staff Writer

ENGLEWOOD — Mayor Frank Huttle was sworn in as City Council president at Tuesday night’s -reorganization meeting,  marking the first time in city history that an elected official has held both posts at the same time.

The council unanimously voted to nominate Huttle – who is a year into his mayoral term – before a standing-room-only crowd of more than 200 people.

“I look forward to working with all of you, and I am honored and privileged that you have the confidence in me to take on this role and do something that has never been done before,” Huttle said after he was sworn in by his wife, Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, D-Englewood.

More than a dozen New York public officials, including state Senate Majority Leader John Sampson, attended to support Englewood’s newest councilman, Michael Cohen, Sampson’s chief of staff.

Cohen, who replaces Charlotte Bennett Schoen as the Second Ward council representative, was sworn in by New York State Supreme Court Justice Ellen Spodek.

Sampson said he should have spent Tuesday night “counting votes in Albany to see if I’m still the majority leader,” but instead, he chose to come to Englewood to speak about Cohen.

“It’s important that in the good times and bad, even when times are dark, that you have a friend you can always rely on, and Mike has been that friend,” Sampson said.

“Remember that you’re doing this not for yourself, but for the people you represent,” he said.

New York City Councilman Mathieu Eugene also spoke on Cohen’s behalf, calling him a “dedicated person who will exceed your expectations.”

Veteran Fourth Ward Councilman Jack Drakeford, who was easily reelected in November, was sworn in by the Rev. Vernon Walton of Mount Calvary Baptist Church.

Councilwoman Lynne Algrant was sworn in by Assemblyman Gordon Johnson as council president pro tem, the second in command.

Bennett Schoen, who was elected in 2005, opted not to run in November in order to participate in a global justice assignment in India for the American Jewish World Service. She was given a plaque by council members, each of whom praised her dedication to the city.

“Charlotte, I always look to you as a touchstone to do what’s right, so I’m going to really miss you,” said Councilman Ken Rosensweig.

Despite his position as council president, Huttle will not vote on ordinances or resolutions — a rule that applies to the mayor under the city charter. But he will set the agenda and lead meetings, allowing him more political power than previous Englewood mayors, who have traditionally served a more ceremonial role.

Huttle, who replaced Scott Reddin as council president, said he would make some changes, including scheduling work sessions on separate nights from council meetings and calling on experts in what will likely be a difficult economic year.

“We’re going to face some serious challenges, but we’re going to roll up our sleeves and work together,” he said.

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