Friday, February 23, 2024
David Maher is sworn in Monday for a new term as councillor of Cambridge. He topped the votes for mayor as well. (Photo: Marc Levy)

David Maher is sworn in Monday for a new term as councillor of Cambridge. He topped the votes for mayor as well. (Photo: Marc Levy)

The City Council has been sworn in, and mayoral voting — by voice vote of councillors during the 10 a.m. City Hall ceremony — gave a technical majority to David Maher. But not, unfortunately, an electable majority, or five of the nine councillors.

Maher, who has been on the council for nine years, got the votes of Sam Seidel and Tim Toomey in addition to Maher himself.

Kenneth Reeves got two votes, of Craig Kelley and Reeves himself.

Majorie Decker got two votes, of newcomer Leland Cheung and Decker herself.

Cheung said his vote might have been different “If schools weren’t top priority,” but he voted based on “who I think will be the most adamantly strong fighter for what’s best for the schools.” A long-term perspective is needed, he said, noting his intentions to someday have children educated in Cambridge. Decker, among those campaigning her fellow councillors for mayoral votes, is “the only person I can guarantee has a long-term interest, because she has a child [who will be] in Cambridge public schools,” he said. (There are other councillors whose children are in or have gone through public schools.)

Political watcher Robert Winters discussed the mayoral choices Sunday on his Web site, including charts showing the numbers and kinds of policy orders and resolutions made by each councillor and the number of meetings they chaired and attended. Decker is the lowest ranked in that regard, chairing 11 and attending 20; Seidel leads on attendance at 73 and is tied for third in number of meetings chaired. Maher chaired the most meetings, 31.

Denise Simmons, the previous mayor, and Henrietta Davis voted for themselves.

Toomey moved to make the mayor’s installation, and the selection of a vice chairman, a topic of unfinished business to be taken up at the next council meeting. There were no nays.

“No one was going to change their minds today,” Toomey said after the ceremony.

Reeves is interim mayor until a permanent selection is made. With 20 years in office, he and Toomey are the longest-serving members of the council, and “since my name started with ‘R’ and his name started with ‘S,’ that’s why I’m here,” he explained later at the inauguration of School Committee members.

The next round of mayoral voting comes a week from today during the regular council meeting.

Overflow crowds gathered for the traditional — in fact, legally mandated — ceremony Monday in Sullivan Chambers, with music from Yuriko Nonaka and harpist Mary Jane Rupert and singer Pauline Carter-Wells, a sergeant with Cambridge Police. The invocation was from Rabbi Elisabeth Weiss Stern and the benediction by the Rev. Danny Tao.

Noted as being in the audience were former mayors Francis Duehay, Alice Wolf and Michael Sullivan, former councillors William Walsh and Kathleen Born, School Committee members Patty Nolan and Alice Turkel and state Rep. William N. Brownsberger.