The format makes it easy to miss, but I addressed the meeting as a whole and a couple of items, briefly, in today’s other post.
In hindsight, this part of the meeting played like a long, cruel joke. The City Council, especially Councilors Rivers and Reid, rather thoroughly interviewed all of the candidates for PMUA commissioner, asking many more questions than one would expect. We delved into whether or not they believed PMUA should exist, whether or not they had participated in “Dump PMUA” action, what their deepest concerns were about the organization, if they knew why their bills were so high in the first place, what they would do differently, along with a host of other, more particular questions.
While the concerns were valid, it got extremely repetitive, even for individual nominees, and dragged on for quite some time. Council President Rivers addressed the drawn out nature of the interviews just before the roll call, reminding all that there remained a lot of business to get through. However, after all of these concerns were addressed, a plea from the mayor, a spat between Councilors Reid and Rivers over the right to speak, and longer than necessary interviews, five of the seven council members voted against all four of the new nominees. As you’d assume, Councilors Storch and Williams were the only voters in the affirmative for all four candidates. Only current commissioner Carol Ann Brokaw was re-appointed. The rejected include Nan Anderson-Bennett, Thomas Crownover, Charles Tyndale, and Thomas Kaercher.
The explanation from majority of the Council was, in essence, “If it ain’t broke why fix it?” Gloria Taylor expressed that sentiment the best. “I am not necessarily in agreement that the present board has exhausted all of their capabilities and their expertise,” said Taylor. “The (candidates) who came before us are seemingly very, very competent, and it would be an exciting board to have work with us, but I am just not convinced that we need to tear up what is already there.” She went on to say that we have to look at this “as a community” and not just take the mayor’s people.
Clearly one faction of the City Council knew that it was not going to confirm the new Mayor’s candidates. The New Dems and the regular Democrats are going to continue their infighting for the foreseeable future. Selfishly, I wish the other faction didn’t waste everyone’s time with their political posturing and drawn out interviews when the result was seemingly a foregone conclusion.
Later on in the meeting, Dottie Gutenkauf came to the mic to speak her mind about the PMUA.