Several County Council members bowed their heads and averted their eyes when President Jeffrey D. Wilson asked for a second to the nomination of Susan B. Heselton for vice president.
"I thought we were electing Mrs. Heselton," Wilson, R-At Large, said Tuesday.
He said four council members had pledged their support to Heselton, R-District A, for the ceremonial job.
Instead, a four-member majority named Councilman Barry T. Glassman, R-District D, to succeed Joanne S. Parrott, R-District B as vice president.
Councilwoman Theresa M. Pierno, D-District C was angered by what she said was an effort to embarrass Heselton, whom she nominated.
"For the year that Ihave served on this council I have never understood some of the back-stabbing that takes place in politics," said Pierno.
So ended thefreshman year of the council, which has engaged more in prolonged struggle between its Republican majority with Democratic County Executive Eileen Rehrmann than in open feuding among its members.
Only moments before the vote, Wilson praised his colleagues for their civil debate over raising the property tax assessment cap.
"I take back everything I said earlier about being proud of this council," said Wilson, who is elected president by voters. "I feel ashamed."
Heselton said after the vote that she had not sought the job and her defeatwas not important.
The job's primary duty is to preside over council meetings in the president's absence. The position rotates annually and includes no extra pay.
"I was a bad girl," she said, when asked why the council majority reversed its support.
Heselton said the council must be punishing her for voting to raise the property taxassessment cap from 6 percent to 10 percent.
But Glassman was nominated by Councilman Philip J. Barker, D-District F, who also supported the higher cap.
Barker said the remarks by Wilson and Pierno were "uncalled for" and nobody approached him for his vote.
"It had nothing to do with any personal agendas or votes. Had (Heselton) got a second, I probably would have voted for her," said Councilman Robert S. Wagner, R-District E.