The flap over Mayor Eric Bookmeyer’s decision not to reappoint Human Rights Commission Chairwoman Kathye Gaines is not the first time a mayor has decided to dismiss an appointee.
It happened 11 years ago in a rezoning controversy involving Mayor Bill Schickel and the Planning and Zoning Commission.
Gaines, a commission member for 16 years, was not reappointed because Bookmeyer was not satisfied with the way she followed through on his request for more detailed summations of the commission’s operations and finances.
Some people think Bookmeyer may be “micro-managing” the commission.
Others think he is following through on his pledge for “transparency” in all city boards and commissions.
Whatever the case, one thing is certain. The mayor has the prerogative of appointing — or not appointing — board and commission members, although all appointments must be approved by the City Council.
Two years ago, the mayor and the HRC quibbled when the mayor passed over the commission’s choice for a new member and appointed someone else.
Eleven years ago, Mayor Schickel was an advocate of moving the Walmart store across the highway into the proposed new Indianhead development.
Rezoning was required. The Planning and Zoning Commission recommended against it for various reasons and it took some political maneuvering to get it done.
The council needed a 5-1 “super majority” vote to overturn the P&Z denial recommendation but could only come up with 4-2 votes.
So the council voted to suspend the “super majority” rule — by a 4-2 vote — and then passed the Indianhead rezoning by the same 4-2 vote.
The next year, Schickel did not reappoint Bob Cole and Craig MacDougal to the Planning and Zoning Commission. They had voted against the rezoning.
Schickel was accused of playing politics with his appointments, which of course he denied.
Former Mayor Roger Bang took part in all those decisions.
He told me years ago that in his 16 years on the City Council, he never voted against a mayoral appointment, even ones he disagreed with, because he believed the mayor earned the right to make those appointments.
In some people’s thinking, it’s the right to be wrong.
The voters have a prerogative, too. They exercise it every four years.
Reach John Skipper at 421-0537 or firstname.lastname@example.org.