Councilman Albus Brooks of District 9 is the next president of the Denver City Council.
Brooks, who is taking a leave of absence to undergo cancer treatment, had the support of 11 of his 12 colleagues Monday night. Councilman Chris Herndon of District 8 is stepping down after two years in the president’s role.
In nominating Brooks, Councilwoman Mary Beth Susman praised his hard work, his empathy for the people of his district and his “remarkable ability” to hold numerous small details of complicated issues in his head.
Brooks originally was elected to District 8, then was redistricted into a new District 9, which includes downtown, Five Points and Elyria-Swansea. These are all areas of intense development interest, and Brooks is generally seen as an ally of Mayor Michael Hancock, and as someone who sees many positive aspects to development.
The council president runs council meetings and makes appointments to council committees, where the details of policy are often hashed out before they come for a full vote. The president also has an ex-officio role and can attend and vote in any and all committees.
Councilman Rafael Espinoza frequently spars with Brooks over development and land use decisions.
He abstained from the vote, a decision he said had nothing to do with whether Brooks is capable of doing the job.
“In my short tenure here the pattern of voting is directly antithetical to what we’re trying to accomplish and do in District 1, so for that reason, I will have to withhold my yes vote, but it is also not a no vote,” he said.
Herndon read a statement from Brooks, who was not at the meeting, in which he said he was humbled and honored to be chosen.
I promise to serve you and this city with complete integrity and inclusivity. I promise to be open and accountable. I promise to listen carefully and to pursue collaboration. If there is anything I have learned in my five years of being on council, it is that collaboration is the key to our success. I know we are a diverse group of representatives serving as one body, voicing the cares and concerns of the people of this great city.
Brooks announced another personal blow in recent days on his Facebook page: the unexpected death from heart complications of his father, Perry Brooks Sr. There are some lovely pictures there of father and son, and we extend our condolences to the councilman and our wishes for a quick and complete recovery.
Councilman Jolon Clark of District 7, who was elected last year, was unanimously chosen as the president pro tempore. He takes that role from Councilman Paul Lopez of District 3.
Clark will chair the meetings until Brooks returns from a medical leave he expects to last four to six weeks.