Speculation warranted where backroom deals concerned

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 3, 2006

We’re less than a week away now from seating a new City Council and the rumors are swirling.

I don’t normally like to report rumors, but when everything is done behind closed doors like the selection of Suffolk’s mayor and vice mayor, the nosy among us like me have no choice but to speculate.

What I’m hearing is that negotiations are starting to get interesting. Early rumors had indicated it was a done deal that Mrs. Johnson would be mayor and Mr. Milteer would be vice mayor n Johnson had earned the mayorship, it was her turn, and both she and Milteer were amenable to proposal. This was considered a “dream ticket,” so to speak among those fed up with dominance of downtown interests in recent years, because Johnson represents the extreme north and Milteer the extreme south. Both areas suffer persecution complexes and many who live there feel they have been getting short shrift from city hall so the Johnson-Milteer ticket was considered fair and balanced.

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I think Johnson would be a good mayor and I hope she gets it. I hear so many people complain that she’s in the pocket of developers but I’ve seen no evidence of that. In fact, I’d say she’s the only of the lot who is not in anybody’s pocket. She has consistently spoken out for the interests of the people and taken a lot heat for it. I’d like to think she would continue to do so as mayor.

Many people had been urging Charles Parr to seek the mayorship, but Parr had reportedly indicated he was not interested.

Have things changed? Maybe. I’m hearing now that some are saying that a North-South balance is not that important. The way I understand it, Johnson remains a good bet for mayor but the vice mayor picture is getting murkier.

Could be Parr is having second thoughts about his earlier protestations, too.

An insider told me yesterday that he heard Milteer had four votes in the bag. That’s enough to win.

I’m also hearing that a former councilman who wielded a lot of influence with the old council is lobbying hard to have Leroy Bennett installed as mayor. What’s that about? The former councilman’s active support, however, I’m told, is likely the kiss of death for any hope Bennett had of even retaining his vice mayor position, let alone moving up to mayor.

The Investiture is Wednesday, so we’ll come back from the holiday with a lot of news. Rumors are also swirling of an impending blood bath, that the new council will go into executive session immediately after taking oaths and electing its leaders. The rumor mongers are saying heads will roll when they emerge …

Hang on, it should be interesting.