Council OKs Appointments: Planning, Taxicab

Several appointments to boards and commissions were confirmed by the Ann Arbor city council at its June 17, 2013 meeting.

First, the council extended the appointment of the councilmember representative on the city planning commission. Sabra Briere (Ward 1), who’s served in that capacity since November 2012, had her term extended from June 30, 2013 through Nov. 7, 2013. At that point the membership on the new, post-election city council will be settled. Briere is unopposed in the Democratic primary. An independent candidate, Jaclyn Vresics, has taken out petitions for that seat but has not yet filed them with the city clerk’s office. The deadline for independent candidates to submit petitions is Aug. 7.

Also confirmed to the planning commission as a re-appointment was Bonnie Bona.

Although Tony Derezinski had appeared on the list distributed to the council at its June 3 meeting as a nomination to the city planning commission – and was reported (mistakenly) by The Chronicle as having been nominated – Derezinski’s name was not actually read aloud that evening. The Chronicle has now learned that there was pushback on the council about Derezinski’s nomination for re-appointment. He was filling out the remainder of Evan Pratt’s term – through June 30, 2013. Pratt was elected as Washtenaw County water resources commissioner in November 2012 and resigned from the planning commission at that time.

At the council’s Nov. 8, 2012 meeting, councilmembers had voted – over dissent from Jane Lumm (Ward 2) – to appoint Derezinski to that partial term. Up to that point, he’d served as the city council’s representative to the planning commission. However, he did not prevail in the August 2012 Democratic primary in his Ward 2 race against Sally Petersen.

On June 17, Jeremy Peters was nominated to replace Derezinski on the planning commission. Peters works in creative licensing and business affairs with Ghostly Songs. A council vote to confirm his appointment will occur on July 1.

Other appointments made on June 17 included members of the downtown area citizens advisory council. They had been re-nominated at the council’s June 3 meeting, having first appeared on the council’s May 13, 2013 meeting agenda for re-appointment. The names had not been presented to the council for confirmation on May 20. The terms of all the members had expired.

At the council’s June 17 meeting, LuAnne Bullington’s nomination to the taxicab board was confirmed, having been nominated on June 3. Bullington had submitted an application to serve on the board of the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority earlier this year, which resulted in a divided vote by the council on the nomination that was put forward by mayor John Hieftje – Eric Mahler. But Mahler was confirmed on a 7-4 vote as the AATA board appointment at the council’s May 13, 2013 meeting. He is currently ending service as a planning commissioner.

In the last few months, the council has taken an increased interest in mayoral appointments. That’s reflected in a change recommended by the council’s rules committee – to move the mayor’s communications time closer to the start of the meeting, instead of near the end. The mayor’s communications include nominations to boards and commissions and the council’s confirmation votes.

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]