I guess now we need to clarify what is meant when you say the words "city council." The latest controversy to grip local government shed some light on who and what the local governing body includes when the term "city council" is used.
The mayor AND the city council came together and collectively decided in a 5-3 vote to fire the incumbent. Did that 5-3 vote reflect the mayor's vote? No, it did not. That is because the mayor only votes in case there is a tie vote among the eight members of the what? I believe that would be the City Council.
When I look on the city's official web page and click on "city council," I don't see the mayor as part of the organization. This body has it's own mission statement and goals and objectives. If you click on the heading "About the City Council" you will get a primer on what "city council" means in terms of the governing body. No where in that section of the city's official web site does it include the mayor's position. It even has section titled "city council staff" where it says the following:
"In 2005, the City Council exercised the Home Rule Charter's provision of appointing a City Clerk to serve at the pleasure of the Council. In January 2006, the City Council established an independent branch of City government and for the first time hired employees to serve the legislative branch. The City Clerk was given new duties upon hire and now serves as a Chief of Staff for the Council. The scope of the new role includes directing and overseeing the day-to-day City Council operations, assisting the Council in developing public policy, and to operate as the City Council's liaison to the Mayor and his administration." (emphasis added)
In politics, you can twist anything to mean anything. Yes, you can even say that the mayor's position is part of the city council to justify certain actions. Yes, the council's leadership team of Erpenbach and Aguilar invited the mayor to meeting. So why do the spin to justify one's presence. Everyone still knows that when you use the words "city council" it means those eight people elected at-large or by district. The city's own website at siouxfalls.org even says so.
Spinning the words "city council" is subterfuge to justify why the mayor was present in the meeting last week to discuss a "city council" personnel matter and decide the employment status of the city clerk. We have been promised over and over again that there will be transparency in city government. It was missing last week in the great spin of the Sioux Falls governing body - whatever that means at the moment and the circumstance.