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Publication Date: Friday, December 14, 2001

Council member mediates the end of the appointments controversy Council member mediates the end of the appointments controversy (December 14, 2001)

By Bill D'Agostino

A mediator and a fortune cookie kept Tuesday night's City Council discussion of appointments to boards and commissions from being as contentious as the last one.

The council appointments had been a sore spot for the usually civil council at its last regular meeting on Nov. 27 when Council members Mary Lou Zoglin and Rosemary Stasek decided to contest the nominations made by the council appointment review committee, which is headed by Council member Ralph Faravelli.

Zoglin and Stasek argued that Faravelli's committee had not followed the typical procedure.

Faravelli and his fellow committee members _ Council member Matt Pear and Mayor Mario Ambra _ were angered by the other council members refusing to approve the nominees, as Faravelli said had been done in years past.

Despite agreeing with some of the issues raised by Zoglin and Stasek about the committee's procedures at the last city council meeting, Council member Mike Kasperzak _ a professional mediator _ decided to vote for the review committee's recommendations for the library board and commissions on Tuesday so that the council could "move on."

"I think we need to get back to business," Kasperzak said.

The vote on the appointments was 5-2 with Stasek and Vice Mayor Sally Lieber still opposing the nominees.

Zoglin told the crowd she decided to help Tuesday's council meeting go smoother after reading a fortune cookie which told her that "your desires and your responsibilities are at cross purposes."

At the meeting, the council recommended library board Chair Phyllis Bismanovsky for reappointment to the library board. Cecilia Keehan had been the initial nominee named by the appointment review committee, but after witnessing the council's argument on Nov. 27, Keehan withdrew her nomination.

After the council voted on Tuesday, Keehan said she disagreed with some in the community who said Mayor Ambra had subverted past procedure by picking council members for the committee other than the former mayor and vice mayor, as had been done in recent years.

She said one of the Mayor's powers is to appoint committee members, as it has always been, and he has the right to pick who he would feel are the best members.

"This council is broken and it doesn't look like it's going to be fixed," Keehan said.

Despite again voting against the nominees, Vice Mayor Sally Lieber said that she wished there were two open spots on the library board so both Keehan and Bismanovsky could serve on it.

The other applicants approved by the council for the commissions were: Laura Brown and Jac Siegel for the Environmental Planning Commission; Miryam Castaneda for the Human Relations Commission; and Edward Mussman II, Tom Means, and John Inks for the Parks and Recreations Commission.


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