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Council Member Spelman to undergo surgery

Friday, August 10, 2012 by Michael Kanin

Austin City Council Member Bill Spelman announced Thursday that he would have surgery today to remove a tumor from his pancreas. The operation will be performed at St. David’s Medical Center.


The tumor was discovered last week. While the extent of his illness is as yet undetermined, Spelman said he expects to be back at work within a few weeks.


“Just removing the tumor may not be enough to solve the problem,” said Spelman, a three-term Council member who is also a professor at the University of TexasLBJ School. “We won’t know what kind of follow-up attention I’ll need until after surgery. But the doctors have assured me I can be in the classroom on the first day of the Fall semester, and I expect to get back on the council dais even sooner than that.”


“Bill is a good friend and colleague,” said Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell. “Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family as he works through this difficult process. All of us at City Hall will be working closely with Bill to make sure he and his staff have all the support they need during this time. I look forward to having him back on the dais as soon as he is able.”


In May, Spelman won his second consecutive three-year term as the Place 5 City Council member. Despite facing six challengers, Spelman managed to avoid a runoff by garnering 58 percent of the vote. He previously served on Council from 1997 to 2000.


Spelman’s absence over the next few weeks could prove critical, especially this coming Thursday. With Council apparently deadlocked over whether to put a question on the November ballot that would allow a change in Austin Energy’s governance structure, Spelman’s “yes” would have been the deciding vote. Next Thursday marks the last opportunity for Council members to vote on items they’d like to see on the November ballot. There is no provision for Spelman to vote by proxy.


Spelman has asked well wishers send any notes to his office at City Hall. We here at In Fact Daily add our collective voice to the thoughts and prayers being offered by Spelman’s friends and colleagues.

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