Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz is set to lose a portion of
his nomination power after the Madison City Council passed an amendment Tuesday
that states that all his nominees must be put on the City Council agenda within
31 days instead of being automatically confirmed.
Much of the City Council was unaware of the rule before this
Tuesday– not even Mayor Dave
Cieslewicz knew about it.
The rule stated that when the mayor made a nomination for a
top city position, like in a department or a division, the council had 20 days
to confirm or decline that nomination; if they did not, the nomination was
Mike Verveer, Madison's City Council President,
has been on the City Council for 12 years and has never once heard about the
"That rule has never been enforced in the 12 years that I
have been on the City Council," Verveer said. "In fact, I don't think many of
us knew about it."
Bill Clingan was
nominated to be head of the city’s new Economic Development and Community
Development Department, but controversy during debate arose because many of the
City Council members, as well as some business members, opposed him.
"It turns out the mayor did not have enough votes to have
Clingan confirmed for this position, because the business community was fairly
united in their opposition to him being in this top job involving economic
development," Verveer said.
Clingan's nomination was delayed, but during that time, Ald. Brenda Konkel, District 2, remembered
the old amendment and brought it to the attention of the council.
Under the old
rule, Verveer said, Clingan could automatically be confirmed, and no
council member supported that.
Due to lack of support from the City Council, Clingan
withdrew his nomination.
"Although his nomination is no longer an issue, the City
Council last night debated the rule change," Verveer said.
Ald. Julia Kerr, who was in session at the amendment debate,
said it was not controversial and took about five minutes to come to a definite
decision and make the amendment.
"I think everyone kind of agreed, everyone voted for it, and
the mayor was fine with it," Kerr said.
The result of the amendment is that there is now a time
frame that requires the City Council to make decisions on mayoral appointments
within 31 days, Kerr said.