At its Dec. 19, 2011 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council confirmed the nomination of the city’s transportation program manager, Eli Cooper, to serve on the board of the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority. The council vote on Cooper’s nomination was only 8-2, with Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3), and Jane Lumm (Ward 2) dissenting. They objected to the appointment of a city employee to the position, not because they felt that Cooper himself was unsuitable. Cooper is filling the vacancy on the AATA board left by Sue McCormick.
McCormick is leaving her post at the city of Ann Arbor as public services area administrator to take a job as head of the Detroit water and sewerage department. McCormick’s last day on the job was Dec. 16. City administrator Steve Powers announced at the Dec. 5 meeting that the city’s head of systems planning, Craig Hupy, will fill in for McCormick on an interim basis. Powers reported that Hupy had no interest in the permanent position.
McCormick’s last AATA board meeting was Dec. 15. On that occasion, she was presented the AATA’s traditional token of appreciation for board service: a mailbox marked up to resemble an AATA bus.
Cooper’s city position as transportation program manager falls under the city’s systems planning unit. The council previously appointed Cooper to serve on the AATA board on June 20, 2005. He served through June 2008, and was replaced on the board by current board chair Jesse Bernstein.
When Cooper previously served on the AATA board, along with McCormick, their service prompted an op-ed in The Ann Arbor News criticizing the appointment of city employees to citizen boards. [.pdf of "Let's Stick With Autonomous Appointees for Citizen Boards"]
This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall, located at 301 E. Huron. A more detailed report will follow: [link]