SYRACUSE — After months of delays and questions, the appointment of city council members to community boards is beginning to take on the appearance of an old Abbott & Costello routine: “Who’s on first? What’s on second?”
Following extensive discussion in a work session Tuesday, the question of local representation on the North Davis Sewer District Board got even murkier — and the potential resignation of Mayor Jamie Nagle from the Wasatch Integrated Waste Management District Administrative Control Board and a new council replacement only added to the confusion.
Councilman Doug Peterson has represented the city on the NDSD since former Councilman Matthew Kimmel was removed from the board in 2011 over an ethics question involving the purchase of property by the district.
The question has been raised whether Peterson’s appointment to the mid-term vacancy was properly noticed at the time, according to state guidelines, and whether it should then be properly noticed now and the appointment finalized.
On top of that, council action on Jan. 15 to appoint Councilman Larry Shingleton to the post, replacing Peterson, also has come into question.
Nagle never formally signed documentation on the appointment after being advised the move was illegal.
Adding to the chaos is the suggestion from City Attorney Will Carlson that there is some ambiguity in the law about what constitutes a vacancy, as well as discussion about whether the action was noticed through proper procedure and if it would be finalized with approval of the move in the minutes.
Minutes regarding the Peterson appointment last year have long since been approved and authorized, but minutes regarding the potential appointment of Shingleton still have not been given final approval. Those minutes were tabled again Wednesday night.
Councilwoman Karianne Lisonbee has been behind much of the discussion about taking the proper legal steps to notice any mid-term vacancy on the sewer or waste district boards.
“If it’s not done by procedure the way the law specifies, it’s not legal,” Lisonbee argued.
City Recorder Cassie Brown then suggested the issue started with Kimmel’s appointment to the board in the first place, which was also a mid-term appointment that was not noticed and thus could be considered illegal.
Peterson was incredulous over how the issue has evolved.
“This is ridiculous,” he said.
Also on Wednesday, Nagle said she would be leaving the waste district board because of conflicts with her schedule. She proposed Shingleton be appointed to replace her.
City officials talked about properly noticing that vacancy before the new appointment would be finalized, but they didn’t come to the same conclusion about what to do with the appointment to the sewer board.
The sewer district and waste board appointments are the only ones that come with any kind of financial remuneration.
Nagle expressed frustration that the paying positions have been the controversial ones.
One other appointment on Wednesday also caused a divide among council members for a short time.
Lisonbee was formally appointed to serve as a city representative on the city’s Taxing Entity Committee for the Redevelopment Agency of Syracuse by a 5-0 vote, alongside the mayor, after a bid to name City Manager Robert Rice died for lack of a second.
Lisonbee and several other council members argued an elected official should serve in the post because taxing issues are part of the group’s responsibility.