IOWA CITY — Jim Throgmorton will continue as mayor of the city of Iowa City, and the City Council chose council member Pauline Taylor Tuesday to be mayor pro tem.
Both nominations were approved by voice vote, with no one opposed, during the council’s first meeting of 2018.
“I look forward to the next two years,” Throgmorton said after being elected. “At the same time, I recognize we’re going to face some significant challenges. Some, I think, will come from outside of Iowa City from other levels of government.”
Throgmorton pointed to President Donald Trump’s executive orders concerning the deportation of undocumented immigrants as well as the president removing United States from the Paris Accord on global warming, among others.
Additionally, Throgmorton said in an email to The Gazette, the state Legislature is “pre-empting the power of local governments to make their own decisions” on issues such as minimum wage.
“Many of these actions at both levels of government were done entirely by one political party, often without holding public hearings, without asking for input from affected stakeholders, without soliciting expert analysis, and without enabling the minority party to influence the legislation,” Throgmorton stated.
In Iowa City’s form of government, the City Council members select one of its members to be mayor.
Tuesday’s meeting also marked the first for newly elected council member Mazahir Salih.
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While Throgmorton was the only council member nominated for mayor, Taylor and council member Susan Mims were nominated for mayor pro tem.
After some discussion, council members decided to support Taylor because of her experience in the labor movement and because she’d never held the office before, which performs mayoral duties when the mayor is absent. Mims was mayoral pro-tem for two terms, from 2012 to 2015.
“I’m not afraid to get out there in the public and speak to people,” Taylor said at the meeting. “I have close relationships with many elected officials in the state and in the county, I feel my strong point is that I’m a good listener.”
Council member Kingsley Botchway II had most recently served as mayor pro tem.
Botchway said he supported Mims’ election after outlining concerns about both nominees, including some of Taylor’s “preparation and deliberation” for council meetings.
“One should not mistake Pauline’s facility of listening and learning for softness,” Throgmorton said. “The people who know her best tell me she’s tough as nails. I think it’s a good time to provide an opportunity to someone else.”
Before the vote, Botchway said he’d switch his support to Taylor in hopes the decision would be unanimous. He highlighted Taylor’s recent completion of a leadership program with the Iowa League of Cities as a qualification, among others.
“I’m willing to work with those concerns that I have and talk to (Taylor) about those in a more deliberative way,” Botchway said.
Council member Rockne Cole was unable to attend the Tuesday meeting.
Both Throgmorton and Taylor were sworn in after the vote.
The council’s first regular meeting is 7 p.m. tonight at Iowa City Hall, 410 E. Washington St.