Stories indexed with the term ‘quorum’

AAATA Bylaws Now Give Public More Time

Speakers during public commentary at Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority board meetings will now have an extra minute per turn to address the board. The time limits per speaker for each of two slots on the agenda have been increased from two to three minutes. So someone could now address the board for a total of six minutes at a meeting.

That additional change to their bylaws came as AAATA board members reviewed their rules and revised them to reflect the addition of two new member jurisdictions in addition to the city of Ann Arbor: the city of Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township. It was last year, under separate processes, that the two Ypsilanti jurisdictions were admitted into the AAATA. The authority … [Full Story]

Ann Arbor Mayor, Council Pay: No Action

No action was taken on salaries for Ann Arbor mayor and city councilmembers at the Dec. 16, 2013 meeting of the local officers compensation commission – because the commission failed to achieve a quorum. The current salaries, which have not been changed since 2008, are $42,436 for mayor and $15,913 for a councilmember.

It appears that the most likely outcome for this year is that those salaries will remain level for the next two years.

The LOCC meeting took place at 2:30 p.m. in the third floor conference room of the Ann Arbor city hall. Eunice Burns and Roger Hewitt are the only two members of the seven-member commission who are appointed and serving, and they both attended the meeting. Burns is a … [Full Story]

Column: Counting on the DDA to Fund Police?

The Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority has enjoyed significant attention from the city council through the spring – and that attention will continue at least through next week.

Ann Arbor police department mug shots. Please note: When it comes to counting police officers or DDA board members, six of one is not half a dozen of the other.

Ann Arbor police department mug shots. Please note: When it comes to counting police officers or DDA board members, six of one is not half a dozen of the other. (“Art” by The Chronicle)

Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3) has been leading the effort by the council to have an impact on the DDA – first by proposing ordinance amendments, then by bringing forward a proposal during the council’s FY 2014 budget deliberations on May 20 – to reallocate DDA funds toward housing. More on that later.

Next week’s June 3 city council meeting would have marked the start of a three-month DDA-free period on the council’s agenda. However, Ward 2 councilmembers Jane Lumm and Sally Petersen, joined by Sumi Kailasapathy from Ward 1, have now placed a resolution on that meeting’s agenda calling on the DDA to allocate money for three additional police officers dedicated to patrolling the downtown area.

For Lumm, this might appear to be a course reversal. Earlier this spring she argued that funding for police officers should be found within the regular city budgeting process. She argued that police officers should be paid for with city general fund dollars – because the city is responsible for public safety. Specifically, she argued that the city should not be looking to the DDA to pay for police.

Yet it’s not actually a course reversal for Lumm. If you follow the city council and the DDA closely, her position now – calling on the DDA to fund police – makes perfectly logical sense, if “logical sense” means “political sense.”

The fact that this reversal makes perfect political sense is not an indictment of Lumm specifically, but rather of the entire 11-member council. They’ve managed as a group to forget what they accomplished together at their retreat in December 2012.

At that retreat, the council achieved a consensus that the city’s achievement of success for the public safety area would not be measured by the number of sworn officers. Instead they agreed that success would be based by actual crime stats, perceptions of safety by residents, and an objective measurement of the time that officers can spend on proactive policing. Yet the council’s debate on May 20 reverted to the familiar past habit of measuring safety success by counting sworn officers.

To the credit of the June 3 resolution’s sponsors, their proposal at least claims that adding police officers downtown would contribute to the perception of increased safety – a nod to the council’s retreat consensus. But I can imagine arguments both ways about whether that claim is true.

The council’s general distraction from its budget retreat consensus might be linked to the energy spent on the DDA. So what has stoked that interest? The fuel for this political fire is the perverse interpretation the DDA has given to Chapter 7 of the city code, which regulates the DDA’s tax increment finance (TIF) revenue. The DDA contends that the revenue constraint that’s articulated in Chapter 7 isn’t really a constraint. The DDA further contends that the $470,000 it returned to other taxing jurisdictions in 2011 was paid back “erroneously.” Kunselman’s ordinance amendments would exclude the DDA’s interpretation.

Throughout the council’s months-long debate about the DDA, the DDA board and staff have enthusiastically participated in city council politics. They’ve done so in a way that has not added much value to the city of Ann Arbor, except in the form of political drama.

In this column I’ll lay out the DDA’s role in the most recent political play that was performed at the council’s May 20 meeting. [Full Story]

Lack of Quorum Stymies Planning Meeting

Ann Arbor planning commission meeting (Feb. 23, 2012): The planning commission did not achieve a quorum of members on Thursday evening and therefore could not conduct its full meeting.

Ann Arbor planning commissioners

Ann Arbor planning commissioners and staff talk to high school students in city council chambers on Feb. 23. From left: Wendy Woods, Bonnie Bona, city planner Alexis DiLeo, and Kirk Westphal. (Photos by the writer.)

Five of the nine commissioners are needed for a quorum to conduct business, and only four attended. In addition to those four, about 10 people showed up for the two main action items on the agenda, and several high school students were attending as part of a class assignment.

After waiting about 30 minutes, vice chair Kirk Westphal and Wendy Rampson, head of the city’s planning staff, conferred and decided to hear public commentary. One person spoke. John Chamberlain, an attorney representing the Automobile Club of Michigan, came to the podium only to say that he and his team would return for the commission’s next meeting, on March 6.

The club wants to tear down its existing AAA branch near Michigan Stadium and build a new one, and was requesting approval for a site plan. The other main action item on Thursday’s agenda was site plan approval to build a new Noodles restaurant on West Stadium Boulevard, at the location of the former Sze-Chuan West. Both projects will be considered at the planning commission’s March 6 meeting. [Full Story]

AATA Board Meeting Canceled

The regular monthly meeting of the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority board – scheduled for Feb. 17 at 6 p.m. at the downtown Ann Arbor District Library – has been cancelled. The reason for the cancellation is that, due to illness, the board does not expect to be able to achieve a quorum of its seven members.

The current intent is not to reschedule the meeting, but rather to move this month’s agenda items to the next board meeting, scheduled for March 17. The two items of February business included: (1) an application to the Michigan Dept. of Transportation for state funding; and (2) a contract for media services. [.pdf of board meeting packet]

AATA Board Fails to Achieve Quorum

Ann Arbor Transportation Authority board meeting (Aug. 19, 2010): On the occasion of its first meeting scheduled at the downtown location of the Ann Arbor District Library – which is to become its usual meeting place – the AATA board failed to achieve a quorum.

Bernstein, Kerson, Dale

Left to right: AATA board members Jesse Bernstein, Roger Kerson and Anya Dale. The group fell one short of the four needed to constitute a quorum. (Photos by the writer.)

A quorum – the minimum number of board members needed in order to conduct business – consists of four members for the seven-member AATA board.

In attendance were Roger Kerson, Anya Dale – who were both recently appointed to the board – plus board chair Jesse Bernstein. The usually cheerful Bernstein seemed a bit glum, when he announced  that no quorum would be achieved.

Bernstein told the handful of people assembled in the room – members of the public and the AATA staff – that he was “sorry and disappointed” and offered his apologies. He noted that it was the first occasion of a meeting scheduled at the library, and that the CTN staff were on hand to ensure the proceedings were videotaped. “See you next month!” he concluded. [Full Story]