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A licensed engineer in both New Mexico and Oregon, Flor's resume cits "eight years experience in drainage engineering, site development, roadway design and master planning."
According to her letter of interet, which was submitted on July 19, Flor moved to Rio Rancho from California because she was "drawn to the small town atmosphere with big city amenities, affordable housing and a great job opportunity."
She said he was "never planning to stay forever, as I only knew the city from a brief road trip prior to moving here, I found Rio Rancho to be a great place to live and raise a family. It is difficult to imagine living anywhere else. I have come to adopt Rio Rancho as my hometown and with that pride of residency comes a desire to make the city grow into all of its potential."
Flor said she "served on a Mayor's Task Force several years ago, and am always interested in positions that could put my experience to use. Asa current stay-at-home mom, I would like to devote some of my time and experience to civic duties."
Flor said among the projects she worked on while with the city were "the recycled water tank and booster station constructed in District 2, just east of A Park Above. Aside from my engineering experience, I also invest in properties throughout Rio Rancho. Whether I am fixing up unkempt properties, or working on site plans for development, I take pride that what I am doing is improving Rio Rancho and helping it grow."
Flor wrote, "My work experience has given me insight into how the government operates. It takes many hard working people to run this City. In my experience, the best way to successfully move projects and ideas forward is to engage stakeholders and form great relationships. Every project that I have ever worked on has one thing in common-communication. As Councilor, I would communicate openly with constituents and colleagues. Transparency is vital to making sure the public has trust in government."
Flor went on to outline what she described earlier in her letter of interest as her "political platform."
"Jobs and development are critical to growth in our city," she wrpte. "I have seen many people move here for jobs, including myself, but also leave for better opportunities. I believe the city should continue to take an active role in encouraging companies to relocate here.
"As the wife of a small business owner in Rio Rancho, I have seen how small business is as vital to the community as any large corporation. As councilor, I would support plans to attract jobs and development, and actions that make our city business friendly.
"I have participated in many city-sponsored activities, especially now that I have two young children. I am always impressed by the activities offered and events that are going on in Rio Rancho and would use my position as Councilor to encourage greater participation by residents. I think a city becomes a community when you know your neighbors and are engaged in civic activities.
"Rio Rancho has been growing since I arrived 10 years ago, but there is still room for improvement. As councilor, I would do my part to promote growth by supporting jobs and businesses, encouraging development and urging the public to participate in their community."
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Speaking to The-SCORE.info late Friday night, Hull said he spent at least an hour with 13 eligible applicants and “every candidate, to some degree, brought something to the table. I was impressed with everybody. I have a great appreciation for those who applied and at the caliber of applicants who were interested in this position.
“What I looked at with Jennifer is that she’s had previous experience with the city. There are a lot of infrastructure issues we’re dealing with, so with her engineering background she brings a lot to the job.
“One thing that was impressive, when you look at her engineering experience, is that she has been on both sides of the infrastructure improvement game,” he said. “In the private sector when she was at Wilson & Company she experienced the headwinds that come from the city, then she experienced the value she needed to gain from the private sector when she was working for the city. Her roles were reversed. When you’re in the private sector you’re facing headwinds like cost cutting, and when you’re with the city you’re trying to get as much value added from the private sector. That’s critical insight that most people don’t have.”
Hull know no matter who he nominated that his choice would be heavily scrutinized, especially by political opponents who might believe that Smith’s replacement would be just an automatic vote for his policies or was a personal friend. Actually, Hull said he met Flor just once – when she was part of a briefing team of more than six people that filled him in on the Idalia Road construction, where she was the project manager for the city. Hull said he didn’t even make the connection until he looked at her resume and began the interview process.
The pool of applicants was evenly split between candidates who had political experience and people who had none. The three candidates Smith defeated in 2014 to win the seat – Tom Buckner, incumbent Tim Crumm and Paul Howell – applied for the position, as did former councilor Arturo Boniello, community leader Kevin Haney and Kelli Block, the wife of county commission candidate Jay Block.
Flor is the first replacement councilor to be nominated since June 24, 2009, when Tamara Gutierrez was confirmed in District 3 after being nominated by Mayor Tom Swisstack to replace Delma Petrulo, who died of cancer.
“Half the people I knew of; half the field were people I never really had contact with who aren’t particularly political but saw this as an opportunity to serve the community,” Hull said. “There were people in the pool that I know, people I consider my friends. I had to call a couple of them personally today, and I sent out letters yesterday alerting 12 of them that they had not been selected. Out of respect to them, I tried to time it so the 12 found out through some other method then the media.
“Would most people just say ‘I’m just going to put somebody in there who agrees with me on all things?’ Yeah, they might,” Hull said. “I don’t know how many times Tamara did or didn’t vote against Tom. I don’t know how previous appointments did or didn’t vote against their appointer. I don’t know if Jennifer will vote with me or against me. But based on credentials, and personal reflection, I kept circling back to Jennifer Flor.”
Hull explained a little about the process he used in making his choice. Hull said he personally did “extensive research” of social media outlets and Google to “see what I could find, read some personal things and get a better sense what they were saying on things in general.”
He also asked candidates about how they would deal with “red light cameras, the golf course and fracking,” he said. “Let’s face it, we’re going to have to deal with these issues. I didn’t ask how they would vote or how they feel about an issue; I was asking how they are going to manage the circumstance. I told them, ‘Make no mistake, after I appoint you people are going to approach you about these issues.
Are you going to allow the emotion of people who approach you to affect your decision, or are you going to look at facts and what’s best for the city? Because there will be people who approach you on both sides of the issue, and you will feel the pressure.’
“I know for me it’s been very difficult because I feel compassion for both sides. But ultimately I have to make a decision when it falls to me based on what I think is best for the community.”
As a side note, Hull said next week’s council work session will include a discussion on mineral extraction and drilling within the city limits as a prelude to a future ordinance.
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the county for burning. Call 505-867-0245 and follow the telephone prompts to the right person who can issue permits for a specific area.
Information of National Forest fire restrictions can be found on the Santa Fe National Forest website, http://www.fs.usda.gov/santafe.
The 2016 Sandoval County Fair runs continues through Saturday at the county fairgrounds in Cuba.
A full-day pass ia $5 fir adults and kids under age 12 pay $3. All-fair passes are $10 in advance and $15 at the gate. All-fair family passes are $25 in advance and $40 at the gate.
Advance tickets are available at the Sandoval County Cooperative Extension Service office, 711 S. Camino del Pueblo, in Bernalillo or by contacting a fair board member. That contact information is available at www.sandovalcountynm.gov/fair/contact-2.
The fairgrounds are located about a mile south of the intersection Highway 550 and County Road 11.
Friday is Senior Day, with many events scheduled at the Dance Pavillion between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Livestock competition in goats, pigs, steers among others.
Saturday starts with a rodeo at 8 a.m., followed by a parade through downtown Cuba. As the parade is winding down, the Pow Wow—featuring traditional Native American dances and songs—will be gearing up back at the fairgrounds. Later that afternoon, there will be an Antique Tractor Show, the crowing of the State Fair Queen, and another rodeo. All this will be followed by an evening dance.
Sunday starts with the Youth Rodeo, the final event of this magical week-ling celebration of Sandoval County. We hope to see you there. For more information, go to www.sandovalcountynm.gov/fair.
Rio Rancho Police are oartberubg wutg with the Rio Rancho Regional Chamber of Commerce and our business community in providing useful information to the business community of Rio Rancho on various crime prevention measures
The event will be Tuesday from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Loma Colorado Library.
Among the items to be discussed:
* Robbery statistics for 2011-2015
* Burglary, shoplifting, and robbery – what they mean and how you can expect us to respond
* Discuss crime (specifically robbery) prevention for businesses
* Do’s and don’ts for violence prevention in the event of a robbery
Deadline to register is Friday. To register, please contact Susan Sheridan at email@example.com or 999-1835.
The city of Rio Rancho is seeking applicants interested in serving on its Ethics Panel. Panel members will serve on an as-needed basis for a term lasting three years.
Based on complaints submitted by the public, the Ethics Panel will decide if city of Rio Rancho elected and appointed officials have violated a provision(s) of the city’s Code of Conduct Ordinance, and if so impose a penalty pursuant to the ordinance. In addition, the panel will determine if complaints submitted are frivolous, and if so penalize the submitter of the frivolous complaints pursuant to the ordinance.
The panel will consist of three regular members and one alternate member. The panel will be appointed by the city manager subject to confirmation by the Governing Body (mayor and city councilors). At a minimum, one member of the panel will be a licensed attorney. Panel members will receive no compensation.
The members of the panel cannot be affiliated with Rio Rancho city government in any capacity, including, but not limited to, employment (including employment for which the salary is in any way funded by or through the city), appointment, or election. In addition, the members of the panel may not hold elected public office or office with any political party within the city.
Individuals interested in volunteering to serve on the panel must submit a letter of interest and résumé. Those interested can apply via the city’s website, www.rrnm.gov/ethics, or submit their documentation to the Office of the City Clerk at Rio Rancho City Hall, 3200 Civic Center Circle. For additional information, please contact the Clerk’s office at (505) 891-5004.
Applications will be accepted on an ongoing basi
THe city of Rio Rancho's cable channel, Rio Vision, moved from channel 15 to 56 last month for cable subscribers in the city.
This move was part of Cable One's larger efforts to group similar type programming together making it easier for customers to find their favorite programming categories like news, sports and family programming.
Before move to Channel 15 in the late 1980s, the commuity channel was PEg (Public, Educucation, Government) Channel 51.
The Sandoval County Tourism Department has released a new Outdoor Recreation Guide.
This four-page, full-color publication points out of some of the best Sandoval County locations for hiking, biking, hunting, fishing, playing golf and other fun things do under the sun. It’s the perfect travel companion for out-of-towners looking to explore the county as well as locals seeking to add some adventure to their weekends.
While the guide was released at the start of summer, it also includes information about fall and winter activities. It is available at the Sandoval County Visitor’s Center, 264 S. Camino Del Pueblo, in Bernalillo, or on the county tourism department’s website: http://tourism.sandovalcountynm.gov.
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An industrial revenue bond is a tricky thing. It can’t be used for just any business, like a chain restaurant. The purpose is to attract companies that produce an actual product that is then sold beyond county borders, bringing in what officials call “economic-based jobs” as opposed to things like call centers.
Money can be used to expand and /or modernize and existing business or attract new companies. It’s another tool, a powerful tool at that.
Walters envisions several companies tapping into this resource, bringing jobs and economic growth county wide.
“Let’s say you have a company that wants $10 million and is bringing in 60 or 70 good-paying jobs to Cuba or Algodones or wherever. Would we be interested? You bet,” he said.
The added benefit for the county is that is done without risking any taxpayer money and can reap a huge reward. By serving as the backer of the bonds for a company, the county collects a certain fee from the private investors who put up the cash to finance a project.
When the 2004 Intel bond for $16 billion was instituted, the county got back about $75 million. Each commissioner at the time got to dole out $15 million each, which went for everything to the Bernalillo Rail Runner station to building a broadband spine connecting Cuba and points between to the metro area. The county also invested in a desalination plant in Rio Rancho Estates, high school athletic fields and the Santa Ana Star Center, among other projects.
Walters said he
will focus on streamlining the process to get the funding, working on updating
county ordinances and regulations, before he leaves office Dec. 31.
One thing the county does need to work on is making sure the administration building has electrical power. The commission med in the dark for the second straight meeting, rendering its new video system useless and locking one individual outside of the ground floor entrance with its electric security system. (Commission chambers are on the third floor).
A work session last week to discuss reauthorizing the gross receipts tax for hospitals eight years ago was also conducted in the dark due to a power outage.
But even in the dark county workers got a
bit of sunshine. Thanks largely to the county assessor’s four-year effort to
update property tax rolls, the county was able to come up with enough money to
provide a two percent raise for all employees who are not working under a
separate union-labor agreement, like detention workers and the sheriff’s
County manager Phil Rios said it was the first
raise employees will receive in three years.
Walters ran the meeting in the physical absence of Chairman Darryl Madalena, who was in Houston attending a wedding. The chairman did participate in the meeting telephonically.
Commissioner Nora Scherzinger was absent. Both the IRB proposal and final confirmation of the budget passed 4-0.
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Assistant pastor Daniel McCabe opened the service, reading from Scripture from the New Testament, Matthew: 20, which is about the concept of service.
“For those of us who knew Bruce knew he was a true servant. He truly served people,” McCabe said. “That’s what he wanted to do, help people. That’s what made him so great.”
McCabe noted Donisthorpe’s 35-plus years of political work, which started with his own radio show while he was in college.
Following the hymn “How Great Thou Art,” several dignitaries were introduced, including Pearce, Supreme Court Justice Judy Nakamura, Commissioner of Public Lands Aubrey Dunn, state senators Sapien and Lisa Tarasco, several state representatives including Nate Gentry and James Strickler, former Albuquerque city attorney Pete Dinelli and Jack Fortner, a San Juan County Commissioner and member of the University of New Mexico Board of Regents.
Pearce was the first to eulogize Donisthorpe, telling of their first meeting. Pearce had just surprised everyone, including himself, by beating out four other candidates for Congress, and meeting President George Bush in the Oval Office.
By way of background, Pearce explained though his biography says he is from Hobbs, he actually grew up five miles to the south “in a little place called Nadine” where Pearce joked “the highest aspiration is just to graduate from high school.”
Fresh from meeting the President, “I realized I was in way over my head coming from Nadine and I was in a game I didn’t know anything about, and I came home from that meeting at the White House and I was just about to meet Bruce.
“We were doing a fundraiser here in Albuquerque, that’s about 200 miles, about 200 years north of Hobbs. And someone said I was going to meet Bruce Donisthorpe,” Pearce said. “I’d heard about him most of my adult life but had never met him,
“So I’m thinking I’m going to meet Bruce and somebody said ‘Bruce can only stop by, you have to walk out on the front steps (to meet him),” Peace said. “Up pulls this limousine, and out of it gets the most flamboyant guy id ever seen in my life. He was all energy and he was all over the place. There was nothing docile about Bruce.
“He comes up and starts talking to me like he’s known me for 100 years, and slaps a check in my hand. He was wearing a tuxedo. I’m a kid from Nadine, the president says how in the world did you win this race, and suddenly I realize I don’t even own a tuxedo, and if you have to dress like this in this game I was way, way out of my league.
“It was at this point I had one of my most heartfelt prayers: ‘Dear Lord, please don’t let anybody from Nadine see me at this point.”
Pearce noted Donisthorpe’s deep religious beliefs, saying “Personally, I never saw Bruce preach one sermon. But I saw him live it a lot.”
Fortner was a fraternity brother with Donisthorpe and has been a close friend since college.
“If you ever talked to Bruce, you always had to motion to somebody and say, ‘Call me.’ With Bruce, you never could get off the phone.
“He was going to come up to watch the Connie Mack World Series with me this weekend. We had a six-minute all on Sunday night and it was the first time he ever cut it short.
“We had politics in common. We had sports in common. He loved the Lobos and the Aggies; I loved the Lobos and not the Aggies. He had this Aggie thing going on because he had a niece and nephew at New Mexico State, and he was so proud of his family.”
Fortner also acknowledged Donisthorpe’s faith.
“He believed since he accepted Christ as his savior that when he died he would go heaven,” he said. “I believe that too, so I don’t really grieve for Bruce. Because Bruce is actually doing pretty good right now.
“He’s hanging with his dad, and he probably said ‘hi’ to my dad, and my dad said, ‘Jesus is calling me.’
“But I grieve for me. I grieve for his friends. Mostly, I grieve for his family.
“Here’s the thing about Bruce. We loved him. We respected him. We’re going to miss him.”
Long-time friend and political ally Mark Murphy said, “His loss has created a huge hole in my heart.
“I’m a little nervous holding microphone with all these politicians here running for office (and wanting to grab it,” he said.
One of Donisthorpe’s latest ventures was Goal Westpac, a political action committee that supports pro-business, conservative candidates.
“Given the size of the crowd, and having him looking over my shoulder (on a big screen), just remember www.goalwestpac.com,” Murphy said. “There is a donate button on there that Bruce made sure we put up.
“I also have a confession to make; I think that it’s only right I make it here and I do it right now. Most people know me as an oil and gas guy from Roswell. But the truth is I’m a junkie. I’m an addict. My substance of choice is politics, and Bruce was one of my principal suppliers.
“You might think we carried out” our nefarious activity near the seedy motels and back alleys of East Central Avenue, but you’d be wrong. Any Starbucks with decent Wi-Fi connection would do.
“Bruce was not only one of the smartest people I’ve ever known, but he was also intellectually, personally and professionally the most honest person I’ve ever known. He was immensely kind and compassionate.
“Bruce was always on the move. He’s a person who brought passion to whatever he was involved in.
“I know what Bruce would want me to do, want all of us to do – to move forward with life, but not to forget what’s most important. Especially those that are most important to us.
“Today we’ll grieve and mourn. We’ll celebrate. We’ll laugh and cry. But tomorrow I plan to move ahead with the thing that Bruce was most essential to, in conceiving and executing.
“If I were to task Bruce what my finals words should be on his behalf, he’d say, ‘Tell everyone let’s go win one for the Gipper. And I get to be the Gipper,” drawing a huge laugh as he tried to impersonate Donisthorpe’s voice which always seemed to rise when he was excited.
Two friends of Donisthorpe’s also spoke, followed by a video tribute to the song “Unforgettable” by the duet of Nat King Cole and his daughter Natalie. The final eulogy was delivered by church pastor Steve Smothermon.
After the hour-long service, friends and family gathered in the church gymnasium for a reception. Former television reporter Augusta Meyer, who grew up in Rio Rancho, once served as public relations director for Intel and now is the spokeswoman for the Mid-Region Council of Governments, spoke eloquently to The-SCORE.info about her longtime friend.
“Bruce was one of those people who really was a bigger picture guy,” she said. “He could talk with any echelon of people and fit in. And he always made you feel welcome.
“But I think the biggest thing was he conveyed information in a way that people understood it, but they cared about it. You always felt comfortable talking to him. And he could be comfortable in a crowd, whether it was Democrats or Republicans, anywhere – evidenced by the turnout today.
“So many people got up and witnessed his life. It was great listening to what they had to say about him. He truly was like a comet passing through. We were all lucky to witness his life.
“I’m going to miss him.”
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"Although I’ve been an advocate for getting it fixed, the misconception that this somehow benefits me personally in this term has been incorrect and an underdefended standpoint,” Hull said. “Even when the charter commission was in full effect, I was very uncomfortable dealing with the mayor’s salary.
“This is something that the charter commission took up. They decided this is something that needed to be fixed. When the voters decided to make the mayor position full time in 2012, they also said the city council should determine an appropriate wage, which the city council at that time never did.
“Now we’re playing a political game. When it was reviewed in the charter (commission), I supported putting it in the charter because it would have taken it out of the political arena altogether. But I was never comfortable defining it or setting the number. I only want it fixed.
“I’m hoping that through this current resolution that has been passed and whatever happens in the charter committee that it can be fixed. I only voted against it because I don’t think it’s a discussion for the mayor to have. This is not an issue for the mayor to discuss.
“Did I advocate for fixing it and moving into the future? Absolutely, because it’s the fair and right thing to do.
“It’s not been articulated properly. Someone needs to say ‘We turned a person from a part-time employee to a full-time employee” with additional duties without additional compensation.
“I’m not asking for a raise. That gets dropped out time and time again, whether it’s in your articles or any other articles,” Hull said. “Nobody will say, ‘Mayor Hull has openly stated he is going to complete …
“Look, I was elected to a four-year term. That term was for $30,000 a year for four years. I’m the one that discovered the unconstitutionality of the three percent raises. Whether you fix the mayor’s salary or the councilor’s salary at this point, that three percent still has to be eliminated.
“You may or may not know that all the city councilors got make-up checks, and I didn’t see them donating them back to the city.
They took the checks gladly because there was an administrative error on how it was being applied, and they went back to the opening of the terms of the current elected officials and said, ‘We’re going to correct this.’
By eliminating the automatic three percent raisers, councilors in districts 2, 3 and 5 will actually make less under the new ordinance than if nothing had changed.
The root of Hull’s frustration is public perception and a lack of understanding on what he’s done in two-plus years – and the political attacks that go with it.
“There seems to be a bit of inconsistency depending on what kind of political salaciousness you want to apply. If I want to make it sound deceptive and underhanded, I play it this way. But the truth is I’ve heard nobody say Mayor Hull has repeatedly said, ‘I made a four-year commitment to the city of Rio Rancho. That four-year commitment was to do my best and work full time for $30,000 a year. I made my commitment, and I’m not changing my commitment. I’m not asking for a change in that commitment, and people with integrity will point that out.
“When they get up there and point their finger at you and say, ‘Do what you agreed to do,” that’s offensive to me personally. My integrity is worth so much to me.
“I may make a false statement here and there and not realize I’m making a false statement, and I’ll quickly correct it if I find I made a false statement. I’m not going to defend something that is not true. But I do the best I can with the information I have to put forward with honesty and integrity what I have.
I think this is the right thing to do, whether I run again or not. I don’t want somebody to walk up and challenge me with, ‘Are you willing to sign a contract not to run again.’
What is the point is that?”
More than anything, the mayor seems frustrated that the public doesn’t seem to recognize what he calls “good news” that is happening in the city and focuses on issues like salaries.
The mayor also expressed frustration over the whole issue. He reiterated neither he nor anyone sitting on the council will get a pay increase unless they are reelected.
But his greater frustration is with the public perception that he pushed for the increase. But he also noted that if any other part-time employee was suddenly given more duties without a pay increase that employee would have the option of filing a complaint with the state labor department.
More than that, Hull feels his efforts to save money and increase revenues are not being properly valued. He proudly has a picture of a $2.135 million check written to the city as part of a repayment of costs of a federal mandate to treat arsenic in its water supply, a major hit the city faced in the mid-2000s that no official had been able to get Washington to pay any part back.
He also points out that each of the three budgets he’s been a part of have come in less than projected figures, including final approval of the 2017 budget on Wednesday night that shows city employees were able to save $1.7 million that will revert to the general fund. Under a new policy passed earlier this year, as much as $900,000 of that will go to fix roads.
In addition, Hull said the city came in under its budget by $1.2 million and nearly a million over the past two years.
Hull also helped orchestrate a campaign to bring the state Legislature back into session when it failed to pass a capital outlay budget last year. As a result Rio Rancho got six new police cars, two ambulances and $300,000 for water line replacement.
With recent announcements that Safelite AutoGlass (almost 1,000 jobs) and California-based IT company PCM (224 jobs) opening locations in Rio Rancho, Hull believes he’s lived up to his campaign pledge to grow the economy. But the mayor believes those achievements are being overshadowed by issues such as salaries.
“I read some of the Facebook pots. People get on there and say, ‘Before we give the mayor a raise – which is not a raise, and it’s not for me, and I’m not asking for one. Somebody needs to clarify that. This mayor’s not asking for a raise. This mayor’s working his butt off trying to do what’s right. And he’s agreed to four years and 30 grand a year and that’s what he’s going to do. That’s what I’m committed to do. I’m going to do my four years.
“People say ‘you ran for what you ran for.’ And they’re right. It was a four-year contract. And at the end of four years I either decide if the compensation moving forward is good enough for me or not and I’ll run again. If it’s not, I won’t. It’s that simple.
“I know everybody predicates it on ‘you’re just doing this for when you run again.’ Maybe I might run again. So what? I’m renegotiating the contract. Who doesn’t do that?
“Did I bring value in my first two years? Let’s ask that question. I would say yes. I would say for the $60,000 that the city has paid me, I’ve brought in close to $10 million. I think that’s a pretty damned good ROI (return on investment.”
Hull also said he would personally interview all candidates for the District 5 city council seat that became vacant Friday when Shelby Smith’s resignation becomes effective. Smith is moving to Arizona due to family considerations.
A list of candidates was published in the Rio Rancho Observer on Sunday, but Hull said he may or may not consider one additional candidate who contacted him by phone.
Under the charter he has up to 45 days to nominate a replacement, which would stretch the process out until the first council meeting in September. But he said he could have the nominee ready as soon as the next meeting of the Governing Body on Aug. 10.
“Whenever it happens I intend on swearing that person in right after the vote and putting them to work,” he said.
Hull said the city attorney’s office has issued an opinion that he can vote in Smith’s absence on the replacement. One of the 11 charter amendments passed by voters this spring allows the mayor to “to cast a vote only in the event of a tie among the city councilors or in case there are fewer than six (6) City Council members present.”
The mayor did remove an inducement resolution from the agenda needed to allow the city to proceed with its Industrial Revenue Bond for Safelite. Hull said the delay was simply a matter of completing paperwork and would not slow down the project, which is scheduled to begin operations in early 2017.
The council also got its annual briefing/update from the Library Board of Trustees and Waste Management Inc.