Council chooses Steinman as interim mayor

The City Council last night unanimously selected Samson Steinman to serve the final 15 months of Rick Proctor’s four-year term. Steinman, the 6th Ward councilman and City Council president, had been acting mayor since Proctor resigned on Sept. 10.

The Democratic Committee met earlier Wednesday night before the City Council’s special meeting at 6:45 p.m. to select three nominees to present to City Council: Steinman along with former Mayor James Kennedy and Hilda Judah. The committee was required to submit three nominees but Steinman, the Democratic chairman, was the only serious one, chosen by an 8-0 vote (only Councilwoman Nancy Saliga absent).

In brief remarks following his appointment, Steinman said in his 15 days as acting mayor the city has focused efforts on storm preparation, clearing the river of debris, as well as working with the Police Department on communication and crime awareness through its Nixle system.

Steinman’s appointment will leave a vacancy for the 6th Ward council seat, which covers the neighborhood around the high school and Milton Lake area. If the same process is followed to fill the 6th Ward vacancy as the mayoral vacancy, the Democratic Committee has 15 days (Oct. 10) to present three nominees to the City Council, which then would have 30 days (Oct. 25) to fill the seat. As many as six or seven people already have expressed interest in the 6th Ward seat, according to one source. Oct. 1 UPDATE: The Democratic Committee is expected to meet Oct. 8 at 6:15 p.m., followed by a special meeting of City Council at 6:45 to vote on the three nominees to fill the 6th Ward seat.

The appointment to the 6th Ward would be until the next election, November 2014, at which time the remaining two years of Steinman’s original term would be up for election. The mayor’s seat and three at-large City Council seats (held by Saliga, Sal Mione and James Baker) are scheduled to be up for election in November, so it’s not a stretch to foresee Steinman running with a new slate of candidates.

Proctor resigned barely 32 months into a four year-term that he was elected to in November 2010. The former municipal Democratic chairman and former city health officer was sworn into office January 2011 but ran into troubles by later that summer.