Much ado about voting 

How long does it take to count to seven? On Monday night the City Council chased its tail around three times and failed once again to vote in a new Council president with a required seven-vote majority: Neither Lou Ann Crowley nor Ed Childers could muster up the two more votes necessary to be seated as president of the Council. Crowley lost one vote, however, when Jerry Ballas cast an undecided. After the meeting, Ballas said he would not vote for either current candidate.

Jack Reidy remains president. Déjà vu all over again?

Reidy, who anticipated he would remain president, believes the media has blown the Council’s failure to elect a new president out of proportion. The attention, he believes, will only serve to make the public unduly “disappointed” in the Council.

Last Friday, however, Heidi Kendall said she didn’t necessarily think the stalemate was bad PR. The controversy, she said, “keeps people interested in the process.”

During her bid for the presidency. Crowley responded directly to the looming question of whether the Council, split over the presidency issue, could effectively function in other matters, or whether it was just spinning its wheels.

“We are performing our duties and in a very civil manner,” she said.

In fact, John Engen isn’t sure most people were even aware the office existed before the last couple Council meetings. “I would guess that four weeks ago, nobody knew that Missoula City Council had a president,” Engen said last Friday. “That is to say, I don’t think that was an office that was on anybody’s radar screen.”

Childers—tongue-in-cheek?—dropped a rhetorical bomb during his Monday request for the vote: “Can’t we all just get along?”

When Myrt Charney moved to adjourn the Monday meeting, he finally found a majority. Five Council members wanted to stay put and re-vote until a new president was in place. But exactly seven were ready to go home.

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