Ending almost two months of deadlock, city councilors elected Henrietta Davis the mayor of Cambridge tonight.
Davis, who is 66 years old and is serving her ninth term as a city councilor, secured the mayoral seat with a unanimous vote in the council's 10th round of voting for mayor since the beginning of January.Council members and the audience inside the council chambers in Cambridge City Hall broke into applause upon her election, which came during a special meeting called to try and end the deadlock over electing a mayor as well as discuss proposed MBTA fare hikes and service cuts.
The impasse over electing a mayor had begun to frustrate some city councilors, Cambridge School Committee members, and members of the public in recent weeks. Addressing the delay tonight, Davis said there is much work that now needs to be done.
“We get a lot of grief about how long it takes us to decide, but we are deciding among people who are all worthy” of being mayor, she said.
Cambridge’s mayor chairs the city council, makes appointments to the council’s subcommittees, and serves as the chair of the Cambridge School Committee. The job pays about $105,000 a year compared to the salary of about $70,000 for other city councilors.
The role as chair of the Cambridge School Committee promises to be one of the key duties of the mayor during the next two years as the reorganization gets underway in the school department to establish “upper schools” for students in the 6th through 8th grades.
Davis has a lengthy background in Cambridge schools after serving several terms on the School Committee before being elected to the council. She said plans to quickly meet with the superintendent of schools and hopes to hit the ground running on the reorganization.
With a big smile on her face following her election, Davis said she has wanted to be mayor for quite some time.
For the past two years, she had served as vice mayor under then-Mayor David Maher.
In the first round of voting tonight, it appeared that the council’s stalemate would continue until at least next week, as the ninth round of voting failed to pick a mayor.
But the council immediately went on to a 10th ballot, and once Davis had secured a majority vote to be elected mayor, four councilors who had voted for someone else changed their votes in support of Davis to make the vote unanimous.