Bruce Teague starts second term as Iowa City mayor, Megan Alter becomes mayor pro tem

Megan Alter is sworn in as Iowa City mayor pro tem while Mayor Bruce Teague looks on during the Jan. 2, 2022 special formal meeting of the Iowa City Council. — still from Channel 4

Bruce Teague was sworn in for a second term as mayor of Iowa City and newly elected city councilmember Megan Alter was sworn in as mayor pro tem during the city council’s organizational meeting on Tuesday morning.

“This is actually a great honor,” Teague said. “I don’t take it for granted.”

Iowa City is one of very few municipalities in the state where the mayor isn’t directly elected, but is a member of the city council selected to serve as mayor by other members of the city council. Both the mayor and the mayor pro tem serve two-year terms.

Teague thanked his fellow councilmenbers, as well as the two former members who decided not to run for reelection last year – Susan Mims and Mazahir Salih – for their help during his first term.

“As we move forward in the next two years, I realize there is a lot of learning to be continued in this role as the leader of the city and also in working with my colleagues,” he said.

The mayor concluded his brief remarks by saying, “I really appreciate the opportunity and look forward to the next two years.”

Teague was the only councilmember nominated for mayor, and all the members of the council voted for him. That’s a sharp contrast to 2020.

Two years ago, Teague was one of three councilmembers nominated, along with Mims and Pauline Taylor. It took six rounds of voting before Teague won.

“I have been a longtime observer of Iowa City politics, and I do not recall anything quite like this!” Johnson County Supervisor Rod Sullivan wrote at the time.

Alter, who won the at-large seat formerly held by Salih in November’s election, was also the only nominee for mayor pro tem and the unanimous choice of her fellow councilmembers.

Alter thanked the members of the council and said she was grateful for “the leadership and the role models that are already present, and the work that has been done in the past two years.”

She described the leadership shown by councilmembers “as forged by fire, to use a cliche,” as the city dealt with COVID-19 and other challenges.

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“Each one of you have been tested and tried, and each one of you has brought a unique skill set yet a common approach in terms of trying to find the best answers for the city,” Alter said. “And it is something that I have greatly appreciated over the past several years.”

Alter added that although she is “new to the role, new to council,” she is “not new to the work,” and plans to use the relationships she built during her years working with community organizations to help with her work on the city council.

“I also ask for accountability,” Alter said. “I will do the work. I will be open and communicative. I will listen.”

Teague and Alter, along with Shawn Harmsen, who is beginning his first term representing District B, were sworn in last month, after winning the three council seats on the ballot in November’s election.