Anyone who believes the selection of newbie Erik Brechnitz as city council chairman was unrehearsed will be interested to know about a bridge in Brooklyn up for sale.
The entertainment began when Chair Grifoni opened nominations and Councilor Rios hit his call button and was recognized faster than pus leaves a boil. Rios then made a prepared statement describing a mythical “tradition” of always choosing the most experienced councilor as the next chairman. Curiously, Rios then nominated freshman councilor Brechnitz who was attending his very first City Council meeting. Brechnitz received five votes, which procedurally blocked Vice Chair Charlette Roman with her multi-decades of governmental experience, from becoming chair, as normally would have happened. Why?
The answer came during the Council Communications segment of the meeting. Councilor Honig railed and rambled about a “Vote of No Confidence” taken against Chair Grifoni seven months ago. That previous city council, including Vice Chair Roman, voted no confidence because of questionable actions taken by Grifoni and Honig during criminal allegations against City Manager Lee Niblock. Apparently, blocking Roman’s normal accession to council chair was “pay back” against her.
The lines seem drawn. The Honig and Grifoni duo as the loyal opposition to fellow councilors Roman and Reed, with councilors Rios and Young as-needed bit players in the production. Chairman Brechnitz is an unknown quantity. However, it wasn’t unreasonable to expect a person of good political character to respectfully decline the offer of chairman as too premature when it obviously was. Brechnitz didn’t.