Council to revive vice pro tem position

The East Baton Rouge Metro Council on Wednesday is reviving the dormant position of vice president pro tempore — who would serve as mayor pro tem in his or her absence.

Councilman Ryan Heck said he noticed while looking at old photos of former Metro Councils that there used to be a position for vice pro tem. He also found the position is listed third in the line of succession behind mayor-president and mayor pro tem in the city-parish’s Emergency Operations Plan.

“It’s listed in the line of succession when it all really hits the fan,” he said.

But more practically speaking, he said, it designates someone to run the Metro Council meetings in the event that Mayor Pro Tem Chandler Loupe is unavailable.

In the past, the chairman of the Finance and Executive committee has filled in for the pro tem. At the last meeting, Heck proposed to do away with the committees, and the council supported the motion.

“We created that void by something I’d done, so this fills the void and the chain of command,” Heck said.

Brian Mayers, council administrator, said the vice president pro tempore is not in the city-parish plan of government and is not required. He said he believes the position, which was the creation of a former Metro Council, hasn’t been filled since the late 1980s.

Mayers said the vice president pro tem has no official duties other than sitting in for the pro tem.

In an email to the Metro Council, Heck nominated Councilwoman Ronnie Edwards for the role.

“I believe we can all agree she is most deserving of this honor,” Heck said. “Her intellectual prowess and dedication to her job is second to none on the council in my opinion.”

The Metro Council plans to elect a vice president pro tempore at the Wednesday meeting.

Edwards said she was open to holding the position, which she acknowledged was mostly ceremonial.

But she agreed that now that there is no committee chairman, it makes sense to revive the position.

“It could help from the stand point of protocol to make sure we’re flowing efficiently and effectively,” Edwards said.