The 2024-25 City Council met for the first time on Monday and elected Elliott Payne and Aisha Chughtai as its new president and vice president and voted on other council logistics, including committee assignments. A proposed resolution calling for a ceasefire in Palestine was added to the agenda as new business but was moved to a future council committee meeting.

The City Council elected its new president and vice president at the meeting. Elliott Payne was elected council president by a vote of 10-3, with Councilmembers Michael Rainville (Ward 3), Andrea Jenkins (Ward 8), and Linea Palmisano (Ward 13) voting no.

Both Councilmembers LaTrisha Vetaw (Ward 4) and Aisha Chughtai (Ward 10) were nominated for vice president at the meeting. Vetaw lost by a vote of 6-7, Chughtai won by a vote of 8-5.

Councilmember LaTrisha Vetaw as vice president votes

Yes: Rainville, Jenkins, Emily Koski (Ward 11), Palmisano, Vetaw, Ellison

No: Robin Wonsley (Ward 2), Payne, Jamal Osman (Ward 6), Katie Cashman (Ward 7), Chughtai, Aurin Chowdhury (Ward 12), Chavez (Ward 9)

Councilmember Aisha Chughtai as vice president votes

Yes: Wonsley, Payne, Chavez, Osman, Cashman, Chughtai, Chowdhury, Ellison

No: Rainville, Jenkins, Koski, Palmisano, Vetaw

After Payne was elected president, he chaired the rest of the Jan. 8 meeting. He announced the changing of council committee names to highlight the focus of the committees. The Policy and Government Oversight Committee is now the Administration and Enterprise Oversight Committee, the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee is now the Climate and Infrastructure Committee, and the Business, Housing and Zoning Committee has dropped “Inspections” from its title. The Budget Committee will now meet more regularly. Renaming and reorganizing committees is not unusual with shifts in council leadership. A full list of committees, leadership, and its members are available here.

The last piece of the agenda was the new business item of the ceasefire resolution. Chowdhury immediately asked to move the proposed resolution, which was not made available to the public at the time, to the Jan. 23 Committee of the Whole meeting. The resolution was made public later on Monday.

Supporters of the proposed Gaza ceasefire resolution watch the beginning of the City Council’s Jan. 8 meeting outside of the Room 100 at the Public Service Building. Photo by Brianna Kelly.

“This [resolution] request came at the behest of many constituents throughout our city to uplift humanity in the face of a humanitarian crisis to advocate to our federal leaders,” Chowdhury said at the Jan. 8 meeting.

After Chowdhury’s proposal to move the resolution to the Committee of the Whole meeting, Wonsley spoke about her support of the resolution and the what she sees as “Israel committing a genocide.” At least half of the audience erupted into cheers and stood up and gave Wonsley a standing ovation and erupted into cheers.

Minutes later, Palmisano shared her viewpoints, which differed from Wonsley’s. Palmisano said she wanted the council to focus on things that can affect change in the city.

"[The resolution] will fuel debate and not be a place of holding everyone together," Palmisano said at the meeting.

Palmisano’s remarks were met with yelling from the audience. Payne had to ask the audience numerous times to let Palmisano finish her remarks.

"Peace, decency, and love need to be the priority here. That's best done without slicing and dicing a foreign policy position in this moment," Palmisano said.

The audience booed Palmisano’s comments on the resolution. The council voted to move the resolution to the Jan. 23 Committee of the Whole meeting by a vote of 9-2 with Koski abstaining. Palmisano and Vetaw voted against the motion.

The full City Council meets again on Jan. 25 at the Public Service Center in Room 350.