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Two of Ypsilanti's volunteer board members were not reappointed on schedule Tuesday night, owing to a 4-2 vote by City Council to delay the appointments until after the August 2 primary election.
On the agenda at the Council meeting were resolutions to reappoint John Bailey to the Zoning Board of Appeals and Rod Johnson as chair of the Planning Commission.
The reason given by councilmember Mike Bodary, D-Ward 2, who made the motion to table the issue, was that the appointees will work closely with the future mayor and the decision would be better made after seeing primary election results and, in turn, who will likely be Ypsilanti's new mayor.
“Those two positions will be working closely with the mayor, whoever that will be, for a long period of time,” Bodary said.
Appointments, which are made by the mayor and then approved or denied by City Council, range from two to five-year terms, depending on the position. Both Bailey and Johnson were to be considered for terms expiring on May 1, 2013, before the issue was tabled Tuesday.
Current mayor Paul Schreiber and 3rd Ward councilmember Pete Murdock, both Democrats, will be on the August ballot as mayoral candidates.
The motion to remove the reappointments from the agenda, extending the terms of Bailey and Johnson until the issue is reconsidered by Council, was supported in vote by councilmembers Brian Robb, D-Ward 3; Lois Richardson, D-Ward 1; Murdock, and Bodary. Schreiber and councilmember Bill Nickels, D-Ward 2 voted against postponing the decision.
Johnson spoke during the public participation portion of the meeting, saying that he did not understand why Council was postponing the reappointment.
“I think we've done our part to make sure things are handled fairly,” he said, “always with the city's interest in mind.”
There is a perception on Council, Johnson said, that he differs with the members on issues of zoning pertaining to the development of Water Street, but said no such difference of opinion exists.
Schreiber said the two men in question have helped the community and, since they volunteer for the posts, should be encouraged to keep up the good work instead of stringing out the decision for political reasons.
“Both have good track records as volunteers; they help our city,” he said of Bailey and Johnson. “By holding up appointments or, in this case, reappointments sends a bad message to potential volunteers. I would encourage Council not to do that.”
Nickels said it was clear that postponing the appointments was done for political reasons.
“That is the bottom rung of reasons,” he said.
Richardson said that Council's decision to wait until after the primary did not mean to criticize or deny the good work done by the two men in question, since it actually served to extend their current terms.