Mayor Luke Ravenstahl announced today that director of operations Art Victor is being replaced. Effective Jan. 1, Duane Ashley, the longtime director of Citiparks, will take over the city's day-to-day management responsibilities.
On paper, it seems like an amicable parting. In the release, Ravenstahl praises Victor "for the fine job he has done for my administration and for his service to the residents." Victor, meanwhile, is quoted thanking the mayor " for the opportunity to serve in this capacity for more than two years."
But the handwriting for this move may have been on the wall some time ago.
As we've noted previously, Victor was among the mayoral appointees serving on city authority boards after their terms expired. Yet when Ravenstahl announced a slew of appointments and reappointments earlier this month -- including at the Parking Authority, where Victor is chair -- Victor's name was conspicuously absent Another Parking Authority board member, Linda Judson, was reappointed.
At the time, Ravenstahl's chief of staff, Yarone Zober, told the Tribune-Review that "the reappointed members 'have been serving the city well since their original appointment.'" Which makes you wonder how Zober felt about board members who weren't reappointed. Especially because there have been rumblings about turf battles between Victor and Zober.
In fact, there were earlier signs of trouble: This past fall, when a panel was chosen to guide the Parking Authority through the process of leasing its garages, Victor wasn't on it ... despite being the chair. Another Parking Authority board member, Michael Jasper, was chosen for the panel, as was ... Yarone Zober.
Ravenstahl is pondering a long-term lease of Parking Authority garages, an effort to raise money for the city's depleted pension fund. But as others have been noting, there are some worrisome questions surfacing about how that transaction will be carried out. I'm guessing this could be more grist for the mill of lease critics.
I love Mel Packer!