LAWRENCE — The City Council last night elected Modesto Maldonado as council president in a 9-0 vote that occurred in a nearly empty auditorium at Lawrence High School and was overshadowed Mayor Daniel Rivera’s swearing in at City Hall across the Merrimack and nearly sidelined by the winter’s first major snowstorm.
Maldonado served only a single two-year term representing the Arlington neighborhood and did not run for re-election when it ended two years ago. He returned to run for an at-large seat last year, when he was came in second in a field of six, and is now the new council’s most freshman member as well as its president.
The council last night also elected Nilka Alvarez-Rodriguez as vice president, a largely ceremonial post. Like Modesto, Alvarez-Rodriguez is a former councilor was elected to an at-large seat in November after an absence. She served on the council for a decade, until 2010.
The first meeting of the new council attracted only about a dozen people to the cavernous auditorium at the high school’s Performing Arts Center, prompting Councilor Mark Laplante to post a tongue-in-cheek message on his Facebook page just before the meeting began.
“City Council being sworn in 7pm. 10 min from now,” Laplante wrote. “Good seats available.”