An ordinance that would allow the council to change its president every two years, rather than every four years, passed Wednesday night by a vote of 5 to 4. However, Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy - a strong Brennan ally - has already said he will veto the measure. And if he vetoes it and it goes back to the council, the council would need at least six votes to override the veto.
Council members Nidia Lopez, Rolando Lavarro Jr., David Donnelly, Viola Richardson, and Steven Fulop all voted in favor of the change. Michael Sottolano, William Gaughan, Brennan, and Massey voted against the ordinance.
When this measure was introduced on Jan. 11 Massey abstained, noting that as a new representative she needed more information before casting a vote in favor or against the proposal. The information she has received since then, she said Wednesday, does not support Brennan's removal.
"I find it unfortunate that [a majority] of governing body members have expressed their discomfort with the current leadership," Massey said. "I cannot speak to Councilman Brennan's performance because I have not been here. There has been no documentation provided to me that shows just cause for doing this. I cannot support taxpayers paying for a lawsuit." Brennan has threatened to sue if he is removed as council president on the grounds that his constitutional right to due process has been violated.
But a lawsuit seems unlikely given Healy's promised veto and the fact that only five, not six, council members supported the change.
- E. Assata Wright