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Mayor Pushing Council Shake-up?

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With five months to go, the behind-the-scenes political dance for City Council's leadership positions has already begun.

In the second year of four-year City Council terms, sources say Mayor Dwight Jones is pushing for new blood to replace Council President Kathy Graziano.

City Councilman Doug Conner recently began contacting fellow members to indicate that the mayor is supporting him as vice president and Ellen F. Robertson as council president, sources tell Style Weekly.

Council members will select a president and vice president at their first meeting in January. Politically, the vote will mark the first time council selected its leadership in a nonelection year, and 2011 is shaping up as an important midterm barometer for Mayor Jones. A source close to Graziano says she isn't stepping aside.

“You should not expect a resignation,” the source says.

The mayor pushed hard for Robertson as president behind the scenes in late 2008, but ultimately Graziano won out. She has a reputation for efficiency, keeping the peace and making sure communication is open with the mayor's office.

Councilwoman Reva Trammell, who represents the city's South Side, says she was approached by Conner at City Hall early last week.
“Whatever,” she says, dismissing a Robertson-Conner ticket. “Doug came to me and asked me and I told him, ‘No.'”

Trammell says everyone knows the mayor is pushing for a Robertson-Conner ticket, but she's yet to confer with fellow council members. Councilman Bruce Tyler, also said to have presidential aspirations, says no one has asked for his opinion.

“I haven't talked with Mr. Conner,” Tyler says, adding that he's not shocked the politicking has started. “I'm not surprised at all that somebody's had that conversation.”

Conner didn't immediately return calls seeking comment. Although the vote is five months away, Trammell says she's sticking to her guns: “What's wrong with Kathy?”

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