At the start of his first campaign for public office last month, Peter Mack ’03 sat in Common Council chambers, taking in a preview of the governing body he would soon join as a fourth ward alderperson. Mack won an election to serve on Council Tuesday, defeating Democrat Jamison Moore ’04.
Mack achieved a second victory yesterday evening, by unanimous decree of the Common Council in appointing him to take over his position effective immediately.
While most candidates in Tompkins County will assume their new roles in government on Jan. 1, 2002, Mack is replacing a seat that has remained vacant since Sept. 12 — when Josh Glasstetter ’01 abruptly resigned.
“It certainly does make sense that the seat is filled, because it has been unfilled for the last two months,” Mack said.
One event that transpired during Mack (the candidate’s) first visit to Common Council almost led to a different outcome in the voting last night. City representatives on Oct. 3 considered placing Democrat Leslyn McBean on the Tompkins County Board of Representatives to fill a vacant position but ultimately decided against doing so. That decision resurfaced Wednesday night when Mack’s immediate placement on the Council was first proposed — without receiving the requisite unanimous support for an item to be added to the meeting agenda.
Diann Sams (D-2nd) blocked the motion to seat Mack Wednesday, and subsequently Ed Hershey (D-5th) countered by opposing a similar motion to seat McBean, who won her election Tuesday. Shortly thereafter, Mayor Alan J. Cohen ’81 convened a private Council meeting to resolve the matter, but a final decision regarding Mack was postponed until yesterday evening.
“I am glad we were able to fill the vacancy [in the fourth ward],” Cohen said. “I think Peter’s appointment was held up for petty reasons, and it was an embarrassment to the City.”
Mack was not in attendance at the meeting yesterday, but he learned shortly afterwards what had taken place.
“I understand the dissension among the Council members,” Mack said.
“I really look forward to working with each and every Council member,” he added.
Mack said that in his early term leading up to Jan. 1, he anticipates taking a less active role in decision-making but would proceed in following through on the issues he highlighted in his campaign, such as bringing more attention from the City government to the Collegetown district.
Cohen, who met with Mack several times during the election campaign, said that he also envisioned a reserved role for Mack early on.
“Given that he is now going into finals, I don’t see him being very active,” Cohen said. “He’ll probably jump in head-first after the beginning of the year.”
Archived article by Matthew Hirsch