Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Urban renewal appointments cause a tiff

Posted by on Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 12:49 PM

The Urban Renewal board is charged with helping blighted areas, like this one in Washington, D.C.
  • AgnosticPreachersKid
  • The Urban Renewal board is charged with helping blighted areas, like this one in Washington, D.C.

Despite some concerns from City Councilor Bernie Herpin on one appointment, Mayor Steve Bach’s choices of David Neville, Jim Raughton, Wynne Palermo and Robert Shonkwiler for the Urban Renewal Authority Board were approved by Council Tuesday.

Their terms begin on April 1.

The mayor has been interested in the Urban Renewal board due to recent run-ins he’s had with it, as well as concerns about the authority’s finances. Thirty-six people applied to fill the positions.

Neville is a real estate attorney; Raughton has worked in planning, higher education and real estate development; Palermo is a realtor and volunteer; and Shonkwiler is retired from a career in planning and development that included the creation of Boulder’s Pearl Street Mall.

It was Shonkwiler whom Herpin had reservations about, because Shonkwiler also serves on the City Planning Commission, and the two roles will intersect. Herpin wanted Shonkwiler to resign from the Planning Commission to accept the Urban Renewal position.

Herpin's request caused Mayor Steve Bach to become visibly frustrated, raising his voice and saying that Herpin should have come to him sooner with the concern. When Herpin mentioned that he had brought it up the day before, at an informal Council meeting that the mayor ducked out of early, the mayor complained that the discussion was "at the end of the meeting."

Actually, Herpin discussed the item at the proper time, when the scheduled agenda item came up. Since the mayor takes part in creating those agendas, he would have been aware of the planned discussion, even if he wasn't aware that it would be contentious.

Technicalities aside, Herpin was not able to marshall the support he needed to push Shonkwiler's resignation from the planning board. Council approved all the mayor's appointments to the Urban Renewal board.

Shonkwiler said he will recuse himself when his two roles intersect.

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