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On April 21, Superior’s City Council elected Ruth Ludwig to be its council president, and Tylor Elm as vice president, after just one round of voting by the council. This came after a 5-5 split among the ten councilors and a tie breaking vote for Ludwig by Mayor Jim Paine.
The vote was between Ludwig and 8th District Councilor Craig Sutherland. In 2019, a tie arose while voting for council president. The election then was between Ludwig and Councilor Brent Fennessey. It was a 5-4 tie, with one councilor abstaining, and 6 votes needed to win.
The council spent months of meetings debating and voting multiple times. Mayor Paine was unable to make a tie-breaking because, with one councilor abstaining, the election was not a perfect tie.
This went on from April until June 18, when City Attorney Frog Perell concluded the councilors could use a deck of cards to decide who would become the new council president. Fennessey drew a 4. Mayor Paine drew a card on Ludwig’s behalf because she was against the decision to draw cards at all. He drew a 2.
The months long divide in the City Council did not stop them from creating policy and running the government, but it did make the council appear dysfunctional. This is why it was significant on Tuesday, when asked again to elect a city council president, they did so in one vote. Before the vote was held, Sutherland asked the mayor not to break a tie if one occurred. He asked the mayor to let the councilors work out a tie for themselves.
Wisconsin State Law says that the mayor is considered a member of the council, and they are to vote in the case of a tie.
Ludwig said to the councilors before they voted, “this is the moment I’m supposed to voice all the things I have accomplished, but no one on the council accomplishes anything alone.” She then described the things she has learned and admires about each of her fellow councilors. Ludwig was elected to represent the 7th district for the first time in 2016.
She is a retired teacher for the Superior School District, and was involved with the Superior Federation of Teachers Union. She is currently the treasurer of the Superior Community Garden Association.
Tuesday’s meeting began with the swearing in ceremony of councilors in odd-numbered districts who just won their campaigns. For the first time since 2017, there was a new councilor. Nicholas Ledin was elected to represent Superior’s 1st district on April 7. The seat was previously held by Dan Olson who did not run for reelection.