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Carwein to serve in mayor's absence

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GREENFIELD — Mayor Dick Pasco is scheduled for surgery today, leaving the mayor’s office temporarily in the hands of Greenfield City Councilman Greg Carwein.

Pasco has appointed Carwein to serve as mayor pro tempore for the duration of his surgery and recovery. Pasco expects to be back to work next Monday.

“I’ll be out of the office five or six days. It’s no different than if I were on vacation,” Pasco said, adding that he was not nervous about today’s surgery.

Pasco, 64, is having about 40 percent of his liver removed. Pasco is a cancer survivor, and he said the surgery will remove an abscess that formed as the result of cancer treatments given several years ago.

Carwein first took office in 2008 and is serving a second term. Pasco said he made his decision on who would serve as mayor pro tempore based on seniority.

That would favor Councilman Jason Horning, who is serving his third term. But Pasco said he didn’t want Horning, a Greenfield firefighter, to also serve as mayor pro tem.

Pasco said he will ask council members in rotation to serve as mayor pro tem whenever he is absent for an extended period of time, including vacations.

Pasco said he asked Carwein to serve as mayor pro tem first because Carwein, who often travels for his job in sales, is available this week. Kerry Grass and council President Mitch Pendlum are also serving their second terms.

Tom Billings, city attorney, said in the past, mayors have often appointed temporary mayors while they are on vacation or away for another extended period of time. State statute allows any member of the city council to be appointed mayor pro tem, who would technically have full authority of the mayor.

Pasco, however, said Carwein would just step in only if there is business that only a mayor must handle. Department heads can run their departments well for a week or so without a mayor on hand, he said.

Carwein said he doesn’t expect his daily routine to change much as mayor pro tem.

“It’s (for) emergencies only,” Carwein said. “I don’t think I’m going to rename the city or anything like that.”

Pendlum said he was not offended that Pasco did not offer the mayor pro tem job to him, even though he is president of the city council. He said the city should run well for the time being.

“We’ve got good department heads, and they know what they need to do,” Pendlum said. “We’ll be fine.”

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