As Crestwood aldermen recently appointed numerous officials to city boards and commissions, future appointments, specifically concerning the Board of Aldermen president and city employees, still are up for debate.
Aldermen voted 6-1 May 8 to appoint Mayor Roy Robinson, City Administrator Frank Myers and Assistant City Administrator Justina Tate to the Sapping-on Square Community Improvement District Board of Directors.
While Ward 1 Alderman Richard Bland was absent, board President Jerry Miguel of Ward 3 opposed the measure because of concern that a city employee serving on a tax-incentive board might feel pressured to vote with the mayor and city administrator.
“I am concerned about appointing city employees to these boards for a couple of reasons,” Miguel said. “First of all, Mr. Mayor, I know you would never do this, but the city administrator does report to you and I’m sure in no instance would you ever …”
“Coerce?” Robinson said.
“… Coerce, intimidate,” Miguel said. “But by the same token, any other employee of the city would report to the city administrator. And, again, I am absolutely positive that this city administrator would never attempt to influence an employee on how to vote on these issues. Most of these TDD (transportation-development district) and CID boards, by and large, you show up to a meeting and the meeting is over in five minutes. They’re non-entities.
“But every once in awhile on one of these entities something occurs as we have just seen with the Kohl’s (Crestwood Point) TDD project. And there is no way that I would want to place a city employee in the situation of having to make the type of decisions that this board, that the TDD board, that the Kohl’s TDD board had to make, especially in view of the citizen concern that was here.
“There were a number of issues with the Kohl’s development, as we all know, that were extremely relevant and had to be dealt with in a very appropriate manner. And I don’t think it’s the type of situation that we should subject a city employee to deal with.
“And as I look forward, I can see, I can envision where we may be getting into some TDDs and CIDs that would not go out for an extended period of time. Certainly, not if, but when the city gets into a redevelopment effort at the mall, it’s going to dwarf all TDDs and CIDs that we have dealt with combined and go into the future. I feel that these TDD boards need to be staffed with professional persons, business-oriented people that can administer and review. So I think we need to take a step back and really give some consideration and some discussion and some thought to the people that are appointed and elected to these various boards.”
In response, Robinson said that he is more comfortable appointing city employees to boards and commissions because they would be more understanding of the administration’s concerns.
“If I appointed people outside the control of the city, I can’t guarantee that they will look out for the best interest of the community,” Robinson said. “And I think we owe that to the people we represent. So I’m against your idea of appointing people out in the business community, professional or otherwise. I want people for the city that are going to do what we and the city want done. But we will always be fair and we will always listen … But I don’t want to take a chance on somebody else outside.”
“I’m talking about residents,” Miguel said. “I’m not talking about outsiders.”
“You didn’t say residents,” Robinson said. “You said business community and professionals, and I don’t know any professionals and I don’t know whether we could get citizens out there to meet at particular times we need to have these meetings.”
“My oversight,” Miguel said. “But I think we need to have citizens.”
“But I want you to remember this as you speak tonight,” Robinson said. “I’m the one that appoints.”
“But you won’t be here forever,” Miguel said.
“You can deny those appointments of course,” Robinson said. “But I’m the one who appoints and I’m going to do what I think is best for this community as long as I sit here.”
Ward 3 Alderman Gregg Roby agreed with Miguel that the city has residents who would serve well on tax-incentive boards and commissions.
Roby then took that support a step further by proposing that the board adopt a resolution barring all aldermen from serving on tax-incentive boards.
But because Crestwood Point is the only development in the city that specifically requires the Board of Aldermen president to serve on its taxing boards, aldermen instead voted 7-0 to draft an ordinance amending the intergovernmental agreements for Crest-wood Point’s TDD and CID boards.
That future ordinance would strike the requirement that the Board of Aldermen president serve on both of those commissions.
In response to Roby’s original proposal of barring all aldermen from being appointed to tax-incentive boards, Ward 4 Alderman John Foote said if any alderman does not want to serve, they can always refuse.
Roby, who was nominated to be Board of Aldermen president along with Bland, said because he is employed, he does not believe he could attend all tax-incentive board meetings.
Robinson also announced some appointments to various boards and commissions May 8, and aldermen were scheduled to accept those appointments Tuesday night — after the Call went to press.
Ward 1 Alderman Harold “Mac” McGee was appointed to the Parks Board and Neighborhood Watch Committee.
Bland was appointed to the Planning and Zoning Commission and Disabled Advisory Committee.
Ward 2 Alderman Steve Knarr was appointed to the Sign Commission and TIF (Tax-Increment Financing) Commission,
Ward 2 Alderman Chris Pickel was appointed to the Economic Development Commission and Business License Review Board.
Roby was appointed to the Police Board and Business License Review Board.
Miguel was named to the Ways and Means Committee and Public Works Board.
Ward 4 Alderman Steve Nieder was appointed to the Fire Board and Animal Control Board.
Foote was appointed to the Ways and Means Committee and Business License Review Board.