City Council member James Clendenin to be third in charge

04/20/2014 1:02 PM

04/20/2014 1:03 PM

District 3 council member James Clendenin will be the man in charge at City Hall when Wichita’s mayor and vice mayor aren’t in town.

City Council members will sign off Tuesday on the annual resolution establishing the succession to the mayor’s role if Mayor Carl Brewer and current Vice Mayor Jeff Blubaugh are absent.

Under the proposed resolution, Clendenin would be first in charge in the absence of Brewer and Blubaugh. He’s followed on the succession list by Lavonta Williams, Janet Miller and Jeff Longwell. District 2 council member Pete Meitzner, who just vacated the vice mayor’s office after a year of service, is last on the list.

The resolution makes sure someone’s always in charge at City Hall, City Manager Robert Layton said. It covers everything from the many trips taken annually by the mayor and vice mayor to possible responses during natural disasters, such as tornadoes.

Brewer, for example, has made several recent trips to China as the city opens an aviation marketing office there. Meitzner has been heavily involved in the multi-state effort to revive passenger rail service along the I-35 corridor.

The succession plan, like the vice-mayor position, is rotated among council members.

Clendenin noted with a laugh that he’s not going to replicate former Secretary of State Al Haig’s “I am in control here” statement when President Reagan was shot in 1981.

“This isn’t something about power,” he said. “There always has been a succession plan, even talk of a disaster plan, because we need to be sure someone’s available to step up and take the mayor’s role. It’s an honor to be able to represent this amazing city.”

Clendenin, who represents parts of south and east Wichita, has yet to serve in the vice mayor’s role, an office that has already been held by Meitzner, Longwell, Williams and Miller.

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