Photos from Thursday night's meeting.
It took two weeks of phone calls and searching through city code, but the City Council found an elegant way out of the mess Gary Becker left behind with his abrupt resignation. (Can you believe he was arrested just 16 days ago?)
Instead of duking it out over who would be the best fill-in mayor, city officials found a succession plan designed for a war-time emergency. As Alderman Greg Helding pointed out after the meeting, the plan allowed the council to pick an interim mayor without a divisive fight over the merits of individuals. The process led to Alderman Tom Friedel, who's in line to become the next mayor at Tuesday's City Council meeting.
The succession plan worked so well, the council may end up formally adopting it in the event of future problems with the mayor's office. Helding is already thinking about it, and mayor candidate Pete Karas has researched the idea. Given the confusion of the past few weeks, it's likely other aldermen are thinking along the same lines.
If history is any indication, it's likely they won't have to use the plan. City Administrator Ben Hughes said Thursday night there's no record of a mayor, other than Becker, leaving office because of an indictment. One mayor in the early 1900s apppeared to have left mid-term to pursue a business interest. Other than that, historically, Racine's mayors appear to be well behaved.