With Mayor Sean Morgan and Vice Mayor Reanette Fillmer, we’ve got another two years of high school antics
Here’s a short primer on how voting works at the City Council level: A member of the council makes a motion, another member will “second” that motion, and that’s when the full body votes on said motion. But that’s not what happened last week when Chico’s panel voted for Reanette Fillmer to be vice mayor.
After Sean Morgan became mayor by unanimous vote, he made a motion for Fillmer to take that role. Crickets. Nobody seconded it. The motion should have died there, but neither staff nor anyone at the dais caught the blunder, including City Clerk Debbie Presson, who called for a vote, and Morgan, who is now the person in charge of leading meetings and making sure such rules are followed. Nominating Fillmer was Morgan’s first official motion as mayor. He biffed it.
Mind you, I don’t think there’s any going back. The nomination process was one of the those times when it’s speak now or forever hold your peace. The panel will move forward with Fillmer as vice mayor, but the record will show that Morgan was the only one who thought that was a good idea.
Fillmer became vice mayor on a 6-to-1 vote, with Schwab dissenting, which means she got ayes from Karl Ory and Randall Stone. It was big of those progressives to go along with the conservative majority, but I bet they quickly regretted it. Ory, the self-described “newbie,” abstained on a couple of votes that evening. In response, Fillmer, who can’t resist throwing barbs, made a snarky remark while casting her vote (“’cause we’re here to vote—yes”). If you missed Howard Hardee’s report on the meeting, it’s worth checking out (see “All shook up,” Newslines, Dec. 8).
My question is, what would have happened if Presson or Morgan had appropriately noted that the motion to nominate Fillmer had failed? The next logical conclusion would be for the nomination of Andrew Coolidge as vice mayor. Considering the conservatives weren’t about to let one of the liberals have the vice mayor gig, Coolidge would have been a lock. If you ask me, he got ripped off. (Although Schwab almost got the nod, since Councilman Mark Sorensen accidentally voted for her—Presson caught that screw-up because it was so unexpected.)
If you think about it, the dynamic duo of Morgan and Fillmer makes perfect sense. I mean, this is a year when a vulgarian was elected president of the United States. I don’t think anyone’s surprised that the City Council’s two most immature members are now charged with leadership roles—even if they are largely symbolic considering Chico has a weak-mayor system.
Let’s not forget that these two middle-age Chicoans are the ones who have cursed from the dais—Morgan by forgetting his mic was hot (F-bomb) and Fillmer for effect while talking about homelessness (S-bomb).
Prior to serving as mayor and vice mayor, Morgan and Fillmer sat next to each other. In those close quarters, they would routinely turn to each other and whisper. Sometimes Fillmer would playfully smack Morgan in the arm. And now, with their promotions, they’ve both simply moved a chair over and will continue to be side-by-side. So, we can look forward to another two years of high school antics. Lucky us.