No one can accuse Black Rock City Councilwoman Sue Brannelly of fearing the legislative fire that is the Budget and Appropriations Committee. The other night City Council President Tom McCarthy appointed Brannelly to serve as co-chair, with East Side council member Angel DePara, for the most demanding committee on the city’s legislative body less than two weeks from Bill Finch submitting arguably the most challenging budget of his mayoralty. Brannelly represents the most active constituency in the city. Black Rockers are noisy.
While a good portion of the city’s electorate is brain dead, Black Rock, that waterfront hamlet, features the most involved voters in the city consistently producing the highest election turnout. McCarthy turned to Brannelly after long-time budget co-chair Bob Curwen verbally announced his resignation from the council in January citing family health reasons, only to declare within the last week he wants back in on the council. He had not submitted his resignation in writing, so he’s still officially a council member.
In Curwen’s absence, McCarthy had a decision to make: who to fill the void? He chose Brannelly who has served as a member of the committee. Taking on co-chair, however, brings new responsibilities. It’s a lot of work, a lot of hours moving through a $500 million budget proposed by the mayor. What stays, what goes, interviews with department heads.
Brannelly comes from good political stock, her father John Brannelly was active in politics and served as city clerk decades ago. But Sue Brannelly’s not a classic politician. She’s a health care professional with a penchant for speaking her mind. You ask Sue a question and you generally get a straight answer. She’s also not bashful about asking you a question. She has surprised many in her district, however, as a supporter of Finch, not the most popular person in the neighborhood per recent elections.
So in her new role, Brannelly will be juggling a demanding constituency in an election year for her while balancing her allegiance to the mayor. Not an easy task.