BLOOMINGTON — The Bloomington City Council has postponed four appointments to two city boards after Alderman Jamie Mathy asked for clarification about the city's appointment process.
"I just think that right now there is a lot of confusion around the appointment process," said Mathy of Ward 1. "Who can be appointed? Who does the appointing? Who approves the appointments? I think we could remove that ambiguity by having a conversation about it."
The council voted 7-2 Tuesday to table the appointments of Louis Goseland to the property maintenance review board and Edward Breitweiser, John Corey, and Guadalupe Diaz III to the transportation commission until after the council discusses the appointment process at its June 17 work session.
Council members Jenn Carrillo of Ward 6 and Jeff Crabill of Ward 8 cast the dissenting votes.
Although the appointments were not to the Connect Transit board, who should serve on that board has been an issue recently.
Prior to the council's vote on Mathy's motion, eight people, speaking during public comments, urged Mayor Tari Renner to change his mind about putting forward two possible Connect Transit appointees and instead fill open positions with people who rely on or regularly use public transit system buses.
Mathy said his motion was not specifically prompted by the recent public discussion about the Connect Transit board.
Mathy said comments he's received led him to think there is lack of understanding about the city’s process for filling not only Connect Transit board seats, but those on other city boards, too.
The appointments have to be an "executive function (of the mayor), otherwise it would be pure pandemonium in that there are nearly 300 appointments to make," said Renner.
"I am happy to listen, but I am not necessarily going to agree in advance ... to a legislature (council) telling the mayor what a mayor should do," said Renner. "Usually the council's role is to make sure the person is qualified ... and things of that nature."
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Mathy said he was not interested in taking away the mayor's executive privilege to appoint people to city commissions and boards.
"The mayor can appoint anybody he wants and I can vote 'no' to anybody I want. That's the way it works," said Mathy after the meeting. "But if we set expectations of what we expect those boards and commissions to do, then the mayor can make better appointments that we can all agree with."
Ward 5 Alderwoman Joni Painter said she was in favor of delaying the four appointments because she has a problem with a one of them. Painter said she wanted to discuss that appointment with Renner prior to the meeting, but he did return her phone calls.
"When we have a public conversation about appointments like this and people come out in opposition of someone the mayor wants to appoint, it is very embarrassing for that person," said Painter. "I would like to put off (the appointments) because I don't want to embarrass anybody. I would like to talk to you (Renner) about it."
Renner said he did not receive any calls from Painter, but that he was open to talking with her about her concerns.
Citizens to Ensure Fair Transit along with supporters throughout the community met with Renner at his regularly scheduled open house Friday at City Hall.
"While Mayor Renner heard our concerns and recognized that appointing riders is the right thing to do, he would not waver in his insistence that the next two appointees to the Connect Transit board be two of his political allies ... that, like the rest of the Connect Transit board, (are) financially well-resourced, able-bodied, and are not transit reliant," said CEFT in a Facebook post about the mayor's open house.