Bevilacqua Seeks Haverhill Council Rule Change: President Should Vote First

(WHAV News file photograph by Jay Saulnier.)

Click image for Haverhill City Council agenda.

If City Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua were to become president of the body next month—seemingly unlikely for now, he wants his vote recorded first.

Even if he isn’t chosen as City Council president, Bevilacqua says, it is still a good idea. He has added the matter to the Council’s Tuesday agenda.

“If the Council president is the leader then the council president should vote first. I’ve just been thinking about the council president since the election. The Council president should show his leadership.”

The Council’s longest serving member, William J. Macek, says he is not necessarily opposed to the idea, but there is already a rule that specifies when such discussions should take place—within two months of the start of the calendar year. “It should go to committee and be discussed here. (Former City Council President) Ted (Pelosi) always voted first. I have no objection but it should be discussed and reviewed. There is merit on both sides.”

As chairman of the Council’s Administration and Finance Committee since 2012, Councilor Colin F. LePage says he has reviewed the history of the Council’s many rule changes. He observes the body added the requirement the president votes last in 2004.

Bevilacqua says his idea is no reflection on the current president, John A. Michitson. “It’s not a criticism of John or anyone. It’s just an observation. There has been a lot of discussion about the presidency in the last couple of weeks.”

On that topic, Bevilacqua says he continues to receive voters’ support for his bid for Council president. “The person who was the top vote recipient and to not make him Council president is really what people are upset about,” he says.

Although it is a tradition and not a rule to elect the top vote-getter president, Bevilacqua says his colleagues haven’t justified why he may be passed over in January. However, as WHAV reported first, the majority of councilors say they are leaning toward naming former Council Vice President Melinda Barrett as president and LePage as vice president on inauguration day.

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