by Joe Schwartz
The Carrboro Board of Alderman agreed to leave the John Herrera seat open and to appoint Randee Haven-O'Donnell as mayor pro tem Tuesday at its regular business meeting
The board moved swiftly while convening for the first time since Herrera, the previous mayor pro tem, announced he would move to Holly Springs and give up his seat with five months left in his term.
Mayor Mark Chilton said he gathered from colleagues that they supported leaving the seat open, given the short window before it will be filled by election. He also suggested immediately appointing the November winner, rather than waiting until the official swearing in. The board put off that discussion.
Alderman Dan Coleman then suggested that Haven-O'Donnell, serving in her first term and running for re-election, be given the second-in-command post.
"I do think we should have a mayor pro tem," he said. "We usually go in terms of seniority as far as who hasn't done it yet."
O'Donnell fit the bill. After Joal Hall Broun said she didn't want the responsibility and a few minutes of hemming and hawing, O'Donnell was unanimously approved. She's now empowered to act as mayor in Chilton's absence.
"Only three years and nine months into your service, and you get to be mayor pro tem," Chilton remarked after. "It's a very democratic type of town. Both big 'd' and little 'd.'"
Herrera, who recently remarried and is moving to be with his family, did not file to run in the 2009 election, so the board has known for months that at least one new alderman would be on the board.
In addition to Haven-O'Donnell, incumbent Jacquelyn Gist and challengers Sharon Cook, Tim Peck and Sammy Slade are vying for three seats.