Stories indexed with the term ‘board elections’

Sandi Smith Takes DDA Baton from Gunn

Sandi Smith has been elected chair of the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority board for the current fiscal year, which began July 1. The board took the action at its annual meeting, which followed its regular monthly board meeting on July 3, 2013. Smith’s election as chair followed the board’s custom of electing its vice chair to the position of chair for the next year.

Other board officers elected included John Mouat as vice chair, Keith Orr as secretary, and Roger Hewitt as treasurer.

One of Smith’s first challenges leading the board will be to resolve an outstanding issue over the way the DDA administers Chapter 7 of the city code of Ann Arbor – which regulates the DDA’s tax increment finance … [Full Story]

AAPS Board Elects Officers for 2013

Deb Mexicotte has again been elected president of the Ann Arbor Public School board of education. The vote came at the board’s Jan. 16, 2013 organizational meeting. She was unopposed for the position and was unanimously elected. This is Mexicotte’s fourth year as president. She had announced her intention to seek the leadership position at the Dec. 12, 2012 meeting of the board’s committee of the whole.

Other board positions were also filled: vice president,  Christine Stead; secretary, Andy Thomas; and treasurer, Glenn Nelson. Mexicotte reappointed Simone Lightfoot as parliamentarian.

The length of term for the board officer positions is a year – from the board’s organizational meeting to the following year’s board organizational meeting, which is always the first meeting … [Full Story]

New Washtenaw County Board Kicks Off 2013

Washtenaw County board of commissioners meeting (Jan. 2, 2013): The first meeting of 2013 reflected a mix of celebration as well as some tensions on the newly constituted nine-member board.

Declan LaBarre, Andy LaBarre, Washtenaw County board of commissioners, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

Declan LaBarre, son of Andy and Megan LaBarre, was the youngest of many family members who attended the Jan. 2, 2013 meeting of the Washtenaw County board of commissioners to watch the new board get sworn in. Andy LaBarre is the newest Ann Arbor commissioner, elected on Nov. 6 to represent District 7. (Photos by the writer.)

After the swearing-in of commissioners – a ceremony officiated by county clerk Larry Kestenbaum – the two main agenda items were the election of board officers, and approval of revised board rules and regulations.

Two of the four new board officers are from Ann Arbor: Yousef Rabhi (D-District 8), who was elected chair of the board on an 8-1 vote, with Dan Smith (R-District 2) dissenting, and Andy LaBarre (D-District 7), who was unanimously elected chair of the board’s working sessions.

In explaining his vote against Rabhi later in the meeting, Dan Smith cited the previous tradition of rotating the chair position between Ann Arbor representatives and commissioners from the out-county area, to ensure that all voices are well-represented in all aspects of county business. Smith’s district covers some of the county’s more rural townships, including the townships of Webster, Northfield, Salem. The chair for the previous two years, Conan Smith (D-District 9), is also from Ann Arbor.

Dan Smith said it was especially troubling to have another Ann Arbor chair because Ann Arbor districts have declined proportionately to the rest of the districts – decreasing from four districts on an 11-district board to three districts on a 9-district board, because of redistricting.

Responding to those concerns, Conan Smith said he never liked the tradition of rotating chairs on the board, and felt they should choose the right person for the times. Rabhi said he hoped to set a tone of collaboration and cooperation, and looked forward to working with Dan Smith and other commissioners to help achieve their goals for the county.

Also elected were Alicia Ping of Saline (R-District 3) as vice chair and Felicia Brabec of Pittsfield Township (D-District 4) as chair of the board’s ways & means committee. Dan Smith also dissented on the election of Brabec.

The first meeting of each year includes a review of the rules and regulations that govern the board’s actions. The major change, on a 5-4 vote, was to remove the ability of a commissioner to abstain from a vote. The amendment to strike the rule was put forward by Conan Smith. Others voting in favor of the deletion were Kent Martinez-Kratz (D-District 1), Felicia Brabec (D-District 4), Rolland Sizemore Jr. (D-District 5), and Yousef Rabhi (D-District 8).

The question of abstaining from votes typically relates to resolutions on state or federal issues, over which the county board has no control. This year, the county board already appears to be moving to weigh in on at least one state-level issue. The board called a special working session for Jan. 3 to discuss the state’s new “right to work” law, which was passed during the legislature’s lame duck session late last year and signed into law by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder. That meeting will be covered in a separate Chronicle report.

The Jan. 2 board meeting also included an update on negotiations about the county’s contract with the Humane Society of Huron Valley (HSHV). The agreement, which hasn’t  yet been finalized, would pay HSHV $550,000 annually to provide animal control services to the county over four years. Of that, $460,000 would come from the county’s general fund. The remaining amount would be paid through contracts with other municipalities that have animal control ordinances: the cities of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, and the townships of Pittsfield, Superior and Ypsilanti. County administrator Verna McDaniel said she’s already had discussions with those entities, as well as with the city of Saline.

Some commissioners expressed concerns about the Humane Society contract. Rolland Sizemore Jr. objected to HSHV receiving amounts over $550,000 if new revenue is brought in – because he felt the revenue should come back to the county instead. Ronnie Peterson worried about the additional financial burden that just a few municipalities would bear, and wanted to see every municipality help pay for animal control services. The new contract with HSHV is expected to be finalized later this month, and does not require board approval. [Full Story]

Charles Griffith to Lead AATA Board

Charles Griffith has been elected by his colleagues to lead the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority board for the coming year. The vote for board chair was uncontested, as it typically is, and was taken at the board’s Sept. 27, 2012 meeting. Jesse Bernstein has served as board chair for the last two years and will continue to serve on the board, but said at the meeting he wanted to see the chairship rotated.

Griffith is climate & energy program director for the Ecology Center. He has already served for six years on the board, and his current appointment lasts another four years. He was re-appointed to the board on May 2, 2011 to another five-year term after first being appointed on … [Full Story]

Deitch Elected UM Board of Regents Chair

One of the first actions taken at the June 21, 2012 University of Michigan board of regents meeting was to elect new officers – an event that happens annually in accordance with the regental bylaws. In unanimous votes, vice chair Larry Deitch was elected chair of the eight-member board, replacing Denise Ilitch. Andrea Fischer Newman was elected vice chair. Both positions are effective July 1, 2012 and run through June 30, 2013.

Before the unanimous vote, Ilitch read a statement, highlighting her appreciation for UM president Mary Sue Coleman and each regent. She showed a short film that was produced by the student-run Filmic Productions, showing key campus events over the past year, including the January 2012 … [Full Story]

Mammoth Molars, Other Realia at the AADL

Ann Arbor District Library board meeting (Jan. 16, 2012): A Michigan Radio report last month had indicated that the Ann Arbor library might start loaning out bicycles. AADL director Josie Parker assured the board that “we don’t circulate bicycles!” but said she wanted trustees to learn more about the kinds of realia collections that the library does circulate.

Celeste Choate

Celeste Choate, AADL associate director of services, collections and access, holds up a replica of a fossilized wooly mammoth tooth and a wooly mammoth model – items that are included in Science to Go kits available from the AADL. Choate was giving a presentation on the library's realia collections. (Photos by the writer.)

Among the most popular is AADL’s art print collection, which includes work by local artists, according to Celeste Choate, AADL associate director of services, collections and access. Meter readers to gauge the energy efficiency of home appliances and electronics are also popular.

Science to Go kits are the newest addition to AADL’s realia collection. Each kit focuses on a theme – prehistoric mammals, for example – and contains materials that include books, DVDs, Fandex educational cards, and objects like a replica of a fossilized wooly mammoth molar. The kits have only been available for about a month, but are all checked out, each with a long wait list. The realia collections are listed in “Unusual Stuff to Borrow” on AADL’s website.

Other agenda items for Monday’s meeting were less show and more tell. The board re-elected its current slate of officers for another year, with president Margaret Leary noting that the board faces several important decisions in the coming year – she indicated that continuity of leadership would help the board in that context. Though she did not mention it explicitly, Leary likely was alluding to plans discussed by the board in November to restart the process for determining the future of the AADL’s downtown location.

In a formal address at the start of Monday’s meeting, Leary reviewed the library’s accomplishments for 2011. Among other things, she mentioned the board’s decision to keep its millage rate down, while still balancing its budget. AADL’s millage rate for the current fiscal year is 1.55 mills – below the 1.92 mills that the district is authorized to levy. However, she cautioned that if the state eliminates the personal property tax and no replacement funding is found, the library would lose about $600,000 annually in revenues out of a $12 million budget.

Later in the meeting, the board was briefed by Eli Neiburger, AADL’s associate director of IT and product development, on a draft terms-of-use policy for the library’s website. The decision to develop the policy was driven in large part because of issues related to the library’s digitization of the former Ann Arbor News archives – AADL will be putting a lot of material online for which it doesn’t hold the copyright. The board is expected to vote on the policy at its Feb. 20 meeting.

Also at Monday’s meeting, the board voted to approve a two-year lease renewal with Westgate Enterprises LLC for the location of AADL’s branch at the Westgate Shopping Center, at Jackson and South Maple roads. The annual lease rate is $82,260, beginning Feb. 1. [Full Story]

Ann Arbor Library Board Re-Elects Officers

At its Jan. 16, 2012 meeting, the board of the Ann Arbor District Library re-elected its slate of officers for 2012. The board’s president for a second one-year term is Margaret Leary. Other officers re-elected were Prue Rosenthal (vice president), Barbara Murphy (treasurer) and Jan Barney Newman (secretary). There were no competing nominations, and all the votes were unanimous. Board member Rebecca Head was absent.

This brief was filed from the fourth-floor boardroom of the downtown library at 343 S. Fifth Ave. A more detailed report will follow: [link]

County Board Trims Public Commentary

Washtenaw County board of commissioners meeting (Jan. 4, 2012): The county board’s first meeting of the year was a combination of stasis and change.

Yousef Rabhi

County commissioner Yousef Rabhi, who was re-elected chair of the working session and successfully lobbied to keep public commentary time unchanged at those sessions. (Photos by the writer.)

Unchanged were the board officers – as is its custom, the board re-elected the same leaders from the previous year. Conan Smith retained his position as board chair, but did not use the meeting to continue the discussion he’d started in December regarding strategic planning for the county. Smith has proposed focusing county efforts on shoring up the county’s east side, an area that he has said is facing a “perfect storm of despair,” including high unemployment, low graduation rates and poor health.

Rather, the main action of the Jan. 4 meeting focused on significant changes regarding public commentary, as part of revisions to the board’s rules and regulations. The majority of commissioners voted to shorten the time available per speaking turn – from five to three minutes – and to eliminate one of two agenda slots for public commentary at its bi-monthly meetings. Commissioners Rolland Sizemore Jr., Ronnie Peterson and Felicia Brabec voted against the changes, but were in the minority.

Yousef Rabhi, who was re-elected chair of the working session, proposed an amendment to keep both public commentary slots in place at the working sessions. His amendment – which was supported unanimously by the board – also kept the five minutes alloted per speaker for public commentary at the working sessions.

An amendment to the rules proposed by Dan Smith was tabled. The change would give commissioners the option of abstaining from a vote. Wes Prater questioned the amendment, arguing that state law requires commissioners to vote on resolutions unless there’s a conflict of interest. It was eventually tabled until the second meeting in February, allowing the county attorney to research the legality of the proposed rule. In a follow-up query from The Chronicle, Smith indicated that he doesn’t intend to pursue the amendment.

Dan Smith was successful in another effort, however – an amendment he proposed to the board’s 2012 calendar. Commissioners voted to change the start time of working sessions to 6 p.m. and add the administrative briefing as the first agenda item. Previously, administrative briefings – held to review the board’s upcoming agenda – were held at 4 p.m. the week prior to a regular board meeting. It had been a difficult time of day for some commissioners, including Smith, to attend.

An issue not addressed at the Jan. 4 meeting was the status of the county’s negotiations with the Humane Society of Huron Valley. After the meeting, deputy county administrator Kelly Belknap told The Chronicle that the county had signed a one-month extension – at $29,000 – for HSHV to continue providing mandated animal control services for the county through January. The county’s previous contract with HSHV expired Dec. 31, and Belknap said negotiations continue to try to reach a longer-term agreement. Belknap said she was optimistic the two sides could reach a resolution, even if it required another temporary extension. Reached by email later in the week, HSHV executive director Tanya Hilgendorf indicated that she shared that optimism.

The Jan. 4 meeting was initially officiated by the Washtenaw County clerk, Larry Kestenbaum, who presided until the election of the board chair. Kestenbaum took the opportunity to give some tips on campaign finance reporting to commissioners and other potential candidates in the upcoming 2012 election.  [Full Story]

AATA Moves Engagement Process into Gear

Ann Arbor Transportation Authority board meeting (June 23, 2010): The board’s regular monthly meeting in June was the last one to take place at the AATA headquarters, located on South Industrial Highway. In the future, regular meetings will take place at the Ann Arbor District Library – on Thursdays instead of Wednesdays.


At right: Michael Ford, CEO of the AATA, shows the board a map depicting locations of meetings he's had and meetings that are scheduled in connection with development of the transportation master plan. (Photos by the writer.)

The AATA will be taking advantage of the videotaping facilities at the library. Moving the meeting location is part of an effort to make the board and the organization more accessible as the AATA begins engaging the community about developing a transportation master plan (TMP).

A presentation on the countywide TMP from the AATA’s consultant and its own staff who are working on the project was a highlight of the board meeting. Board members focused on the need to have a vision of what the community would like in 30 years, and to start taking the short-term steps to get there, instead of dismissing a 30-year vision as impossible because there is no funding available now. The completed TMP document is expected by early 2011.

One of those short-term steps – which won’t necessarily wait for the development of the completed TMP document – could be improved service between Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. During a media roundtable held before the board meeting, Michael Ford, CEO of the AATA, indicated that Ypsilanti will be part of the focus of a board retreat, which will take place on July 19 at Weber’s Inn. [July 6 update: The retreat has been canceled, possibly to be rescheduled in early August.]

Mary Stasiak, AATA’s manager of community relations, said at the roundtable the AATA supported the millage proposal that will be put before Ypsilanti voters in the fall. [The proposal will also appear on the primary ballot, but the state attorney general has ruled that a millage proposal must be authorized at a general election.]

The board marked a transition to its new composition by honoring Ted Annis and Paul Ajegba, who were recently replaced on the AATA board by Roger Kerson and Anya Dale. The board also elected new officers to replace Ajegba and Annis as chair and treasurer of the board, respectively. Sue McCormick was elected treasurer. The board will be led by its new chair, Jesse Bernstein. [Full Story]