Council Meeting Heats Up Over Appointments

August 25, 2010

Investigative Reports

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The NerveThe Charleston City Council took up the issue of appointments to city boards and commissions at its Aug. 17 meeting.

In question was an appointment to the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals Site Design. Mayor Joe Riley had chosen Adam Barr and the appointment had been up for vote at the previous council meeting, but was deferred at the request of the council.

During last week’s meeting, Councilman Timothy Mallard indicated that he did not wish to support Riley’s nominee and put forward another name.

He added that the mayor took little regard of the council and that the council was not getting sufficient notice of vacancies on boards so members could made nominations.

Riley noted that the Charleston City Council had had more than four weeks to notify him of other nominees and he had heard nothing.

He added that the nominee proposed by Mallard was not an attorney and the ordinance relating to the Board of Zoning Appeals stated that only a lawyer could fill the seat being vacated.

Mallard became confrontational over the wording of the memo from the mayor requesting the appointment of Barr to the board, saying that, according to the memo, Barr was being appointed to the Board of Zoning Appeals as the chairman.

The assistant clerk of council was dispatched to retrieve the memo and Mallard was shown to have misread it.

Other Council members jumped in to support Mallard’s contention, though not his nominee.

Councilman Jimmy Gallant III said that he knew of a number of attorneys that could fill the seat. He and other members asked that more notice be given in future. Other council members were not so sure.

Council member Gary White Jr. suggested that members directly contact Riley if they had a good candidate for a position. He said he had done so recently and the mayor supported the appointment.

Council member Kathleen Wilson suggested that members become more proactive if they had a good candidate they wished to nominate.

A vote was taken as to defer filling the Board of Zoning Appeals position but the motion failed on a tie vote (4-4). A subsequent motion to accept the mayor’s recommendation passed.