As members of the Jacksonville City Council prepare to approach their annual budget discussions, they also find themselves at the yearly crossroads of selecting a mayor pro tem.
The “pro tem” portion of this title stands for pro tempore – a Latin term that means, “for the time being.” The mayor pro tem is basically a “second in command” appointed to occupy the slot of mayor in the actual mayor's absence.
City Manager Mo Raissi said traditionally, the current mayor pro tem steps down from his or her position on the Jacksonville Council after a year or so to give other members the opportunity to serve.
The councilman currently occupying the mayor pro tem slot is District 2 Councilman Jeff Smith. This may or may not change, depending on what decision members make Tuesday, officials said.
Jacksonville Mayor Kenneth Melvin explained that the process of selection in this regard differs from other traditional Jacksonville council selection procedures.
“You don't actually run for the position – one of your fellow council members nominates you,” the mayor said. “We usually try to pass this position around. So it could be any one of three of our members. Or it could be Mr. Smith again, depending on who exactly gets nominated.”
These three members to which Mayor Melvin referred are District 1 Councilman Hubert Robinson, District 3 Councilman Bill McDonald, and District 4 Councilwoman Ann Chandler.
If more than one person gets nominated for mayor pro tem during this process, the issue comes down to a council vote, the mayor said.
“There is a certain script we go by,” the mayor said.
The selection generally takes place at the beginning of Tuesday's council meeting, reports show.
The meeting takes place at 6 p.m. Tuesday night in the council chambers of the Norman Activity Center, 526 East Commerce Street.