Noms: Narayan to DDA; Bernard to AAATA

Among the highlights of mayoral nominations to boards and commissions made at the Ann Arbor city council’s Aug. 8, 2013 meeting were two significant boards.

Rishi Narayan was nominated to replace Leah Gunn on the board of the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority. Narayan is founder and managing member of Underground Printing, which offers screenprinting of apparel in more than a dozen cities nationwide. Narayan made the Crain’s Detroit Business “Twenty in their 20s” list in 2010 as a 28-year-old.

Jack Bernard was nominated to the board of the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority. When the AAATA articles of incorporation were changed recently to add the city of Ypsilanti as a member, the board was expanded from seven to nine members. One of the two additional seats is appointed by the city of Ypsilanti. Gillian Ream was appointed to that spot.

Bernard’s appointment would fill the additional slot appointed by the city of Ann Arbor. Bernard is a lecturer in the University of Michigan law school and an attorney with UM’s office of the vice president and general counsel. He is also currently chair of the university’s council for disability concerns. Given the nature of wrangling over Eric Mahler’s recent appointment to the AAATA board, Bernard’s chairship of that group could be a key qualification. Some councilmembers objected to Mahler’s appointment, arguing that someone who could represent the disability community should be appointed instead.

Also originally slated on the agenda to replace Newcombe Clark on the board of the Ann Arbor DDA was Al McWilliams. However, the most-recently updated version of the agenda did not include his name. Al McWilliams is founder of Quack!Media, an ad agency located in downtown Ann Arbor. Quack!Media lists the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority on its website as one of its clients. McWilliams has written advocacy pieces for bicycling on his blog.

Originally slated for nomination to serve on the public art commission was Jeff Hayner. But the most-recently updated version of the nomination list did not include his name. He has filed petitions to run for the Ward 1 city council seat. The Ward 1 city council ballot for November will include incumbent Democrat Sabra Briere, and independents Hayner and Jaclyn Vresics. According to Hayner, mayor John Hieftje had explained to him that he had a policy against appointing people to boards and commissions if they were candidates for the city council.

Votes on confirmation of mayoral nominations are taken at the following meeting.

On Aug. 8, the council confirmed mayoral nominations made at the previous council meeting on July 15: Sue Perry to the Elizabeth Dean Fund committee; and Evan Nichols to the zoning board of appeals.

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]