Council Selects Sandoval For Mayor, Mundell For Vice Mayor; New Council Members Objected To Proposed Leadership
Daniel Sandoval walked into a Casper City Council work session Tuesday as a regular member and walked out as the mayor for 2015.
"I was as surprised as probably everyone," Sandoval said Wednesday morning.
Before its new term starts in January, council traditionally and informally chooses the past year's vice mayor to become mayor .
The unofficially elected mayor often nominates a vice mayor, but other council members can put their names in, too, Sandoval said.
That went quite awry Tuesday.
"The council was given and council people-elect were given ballots that had (vice mayor) Charlie Powell's name for mayor, and on the same sheet for 'other,' and then they presented two names for vice mayor and those two names were Steve Cathey and Bob Hopkins," he said.
He, outgoing councilman Keith Goodenough, councilman Craig Hedquist, and the newly elected council members who campaigned for greater transparency in city government -- Ray Pacheco, Shawn Johnson and Robin Mundell -- objected to the ballots with their mysterious and unilateral origins.
Council members could not get a straight answer about out who the "they" were who drafted the ballots, he said.
"We were all kind of put off by the fact that it seemed there was some behind-the-scenes arranging of candidates for this election," said Sandoval, who wanted to offer himself as vice mayor. "And I say 'behind the scenes' because nobody talked to me."
Their reaction upended the traditional process.
Johnson nominated Sandoval as mayor and Sandoval nominated Mundell as vice mayor. The other council members agreed in an unofficial vote that probably will be made official in January, he said. "And that's how it turned out."
"With the new council members, the incoming council members, there's actually a chance to change the way things are done because there is a tendency to concentrate a lot of the decisions with the leadership and not consult the entire council," Sandoval said.
The leadership was Mayor Paul Meyer, Powell, and participation with the office of City Manager John Patterson, Sandoval said.
The city manager, however, is supposed to work at the behest of the city council and not the other way around, he said.
"Now we have the chance to actually involve the council in a lot of these decisions," Sandoval said.
He expects the other city council members to hold him accountable.
"If I'm starting to just expect them to rubber-stamp things, I expect them to say, 'hey, you know what, we didn't discuss this bully, and you're doing what you said to prevent from happening,'" Sandoval said. "'Step it up, buddy.'"