In less than two minutes, the five-member council unanimously re-elected Mayor Peggy Thomsen and Vice Mayor Joann Wile to another one-year term.
The election for Mayor appeared to promise some drama at the beginning when Councilman Peter Maass nominated Wile to be the new Mayor, but Wile withdrew and nominated Thomsen. With no other nominations, Thomsen won hands down.
It will be the fourth term as Mayor for Thomsen, who is now in her third four-year term as a council member. She served two terms in 1996-2004, and was elected again in 2012.
Similarly, the race for Vice Mayor started with a short-lived sign of competition when Councilwoman Marge Atkinson nominated Maass and Thomsen followed by nominating Wile.
"I would like to nominate Joann Wile, and the reason is we've worked very, very well together," Thomsen said. "I think we complement each other."
Referring to Maass, she said, "I think you would do a great job, but I really think that we started some great projects that I would hope that Joann could help finish with."
Councilman Michael Barnes then seconded Thomsen's nomination of Wile, saying he did so because of Thomsen's comments, and Maass withdrew his name, making Wile's re-election another shoo-in.
Wile was elected to the council in 2010.
Both council officers hold post-graduate degrees from UC Berkeley.
Thomsen, whose profile on the city website lists her occupation as an instructor with a long record of public service, holds a Ph.D. in educational administration.
Wile, whose occupation is listed as retired psychiatric social worker and organizational consultant on the city website, has a master's from the School of Social Welfare.
At Patch's request, City Clerk Nicole Almaguer before the council meeting provided this copy of city policy regarding election of Mayor and Vice Mayor:
CITY COUNCIL REORGANIZATION POLICY
The City Council shall conduct a yearly reorganization at its second regular meeting of December, unless otherwise designated by the City Council. At the time of the yearly reorganization of the City Council, the City Council shall elect one of its members to serve one year as Mayor and one of its members to serve one year as Vice Mayor. In making the selections, the City Council will consider the principle of rotation to allow each of its members an opportunity to serve as Mayor.
Council health benefits
The council spent far more time discussing another item on the agenda – whether to retain the current policy of having the city pay the full cost of health benefits for City Council members.
The issue was introduced by Barnes, who questioned whether it was fair for council members who opt for Blue Shield coverage over the less expensive Kaiser option to have their premiums fully paid, while city employees who choose Blue Shield have to pay the difference between the Kaiser and Blue Shield premiums out of their own pocket.
The council did not take action. It asked city staff staff to report back at a future meeting with information on how council members in comparable nearby cities are compensated.
During public comment, three people spoke, all against the current policy: Brian Parsley, Peggy McQuaid and Amber Whitson.
Caryl O'Keefe provided more background information on the agenda item in her Albany Patch blog post published Sunday.
Published Dec. 2, 2013; updated Dec. 5, 6:03 p.m.