A reconsideration of Al McWilliams’ appointment to the board of the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority has resulted in the same council vote as the previous one – a 6-5 tally in favor of appointment. The initial vote was taken on Sept. 16. The re-vote was taken at the council’s Oct. 21 meeting.
The Sept 16 vote came after mayor John Hieftje stated during deliberations on Sept. 3 – as McWilliams’ confirmation that night appeared not to have sufficient support on the short-handed council – that he was withdrawing the nomination.
That gave rise to a technical procedural issue, because Hieftje’s request for confirmation on Sept. 16 appeared to be a fresh nomination. So it should have been subjected to the council’s rule that applies when the vote comes at the same council meeting as the nomination – namely, that the confirmation achieve an eight-vote majority. For detailed analysis of the procedural issue, see “Column: How to Count to 8, Stopping at 6.”
City attorney Stephen Postema was then directed by the council at its Oct. 7 meeting to produce a written opinion on the legal validity of the 6-5 vote, which he subsequently did. Later in the Oct. 7 meeting, Chuck Warpehoski (Ward 5) convinced his council colleagues to re-open the agenda to add a motion to reconsider the Sept. 16 vote on McWilliams. Warpehoski could do that as someone who voted on the prevailing side.
That motion for reconsideration was immediately postponed until the Oct. 21 meeting. The point of Warpehoski’s motion was not based on his desire to change his vote, but rather to eliminate the procedural question about McWilliams’ appointment.
Voting against McWilliams’ appointment on Sept. 16 and on Oct. 21 were: Sumi Kailasapathy (Ward 1), Sally Petersen (Ward 2), Jane Lumm (Ward 2), Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3) and Mike Anglin (Ward 5). Voting in favor were: Sabra Briere (Ward 1), Christopher Taylor (Ward 3), Margie Teall (Ward 4), Marcia Higgins (Ward 4), and mayor John Hieftje.
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]