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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Appoint Counterpoint

Posted By on Wed, Jul 15, 2009 at 11:02 AM

Here's what gets me about this sudden rush to get Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's board appointees rammed through council.

Councilor Jim Motznik apparently thinks it's unacceptable that interviews with the appointees were delayed. Yeah, Jim, it sucks. But if you're upset at needless delay in the board-appointment process, you're coming late to the party. 

As we note in a news story on the streets today (online tomorrow), just about every board in the city has at least one member serving an expired term. EVERY member of the Parking Authority has been operating on an expired term. But now, all the sudden, Jim Motnzik is objecting to political "gamesmanship"? Where was he when Bill Peduto was removed from the Stadium Authority last year, but not replaced until 2009? 

In some cases, board members have overstayed their terms for a year or more, because Mayor Ravenstahl did nothing to reappoint or replace them. Among those appointees was Wrenna Watson, whose renomination is among those that got rammed through yesterday. Motznik's urgency here is mystifying: Watson has been serving on the Zoning Board even though her term expired in 2007

Now there's nothing wrong with that: By law, board members can serve indefinitely until they are replaced. But on the other hand -- board members can serve indefinitely until they are replaced. There was no reason to force Watson's reappointment through. So even if there was a desperate need to get some new blood on the Shade Tree Commission yesterday, her appointment, at least, chould have been held back. As Bram Reichbaum points out in a comment posted to his Pittsburgh Comet blog, there would be plenty to talk about. 

Sure, waiting to reschedule her council appearance would mean Watson would be in limbo -- but she's already been in limbo for a year and a half. What's another couple weeks?

But really, who is surprised by this? Of course there are plenty of questions that need to be answered about Ravenstahl's appointees. Why else would his council allies be in such a hurry to avoid the discussion?

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