WARNER ROBINS -- City Council selected a new Redevelopment Agency board Monday night, with yet another deciding vote cast by Mayor Chuck Shaheen
“I’d like for them to get started this week,” Shaheen said after the meeting. “I want to give them our vision.”
Shaheen said he wants the members to meet before the scheduled April 12 RDA board meeting to discuss how the new board will operate, the current city projects and land owned by the city.
The vote Monday was similar to the vote March 21 that removed mayor and council from the board.
The three councilmen who voted against removing themselves from the board -- Councilmen Mike Daley, Paul Shealy and Bob Wilbanks -- abstained from Monday’s vote. Councilmen Daron Lee, Tom Simms Jr., and John Williams once again approved the measure.
“There have been times -- that I cannot count on my fingers -- that I have had information put before me 20 minutes before the meeting,” Simms said of the abstaining councilmen’s argument that they had not had enough time to review Shaheen’s nominees. “It’s normal that it happens. So, I don’t see the fight here.”
The split vote allowed Shaheen to swing the vote in favor of his selections.
“There was an e-mail sent out March 25 with this resolution,” Shaheen explained before calling for the vote. “Lee, Williams and Simms, those are the only councilmen that I heard from about who they wanted on this board. So, I put them on this board along with one of my suggestions and a suggestion from (Redevelopment Agency director) Gary Lee.”
Daley and Wilbanks said Shaheen told them at precouncil Thursday that they could not give input, and were therefore unaware of the option.
Bill Douglas, Randy Meade, Warren Faircloth, Doug Hayes, Linda Shingler, Harvey Bee and Frieda McCullough were selected to the board. Don Jarzinka and Ivan Allen will serve ex-officio, which means they do not have a vote.
Each board member must be a resident, real estate owner or business owner in the city. They will serve on the board in staggered terms. After the initial term, board members will serve four-year terms before re-appointment, according to the resolution.
The abstaining councilmen argued that the resolution included a list of members they had not seen until just before the meeting. Thursday’s pre-council discussion included only the criteria and not names, Daley pointed out.
“How we went from process to resolution is amazing to me,” Daley said before the vote. “You would think that since I’ve been chairing the RDA for a few months, a little bit of input would have been sought.”
Wilbanks added that board members should have to be residents, not just have property or a business.
Nonetheless, Daley and Wilbanks said a vote was taken and they support the board members,
Shaheen said he did receive interest letters from the now-appointed board members, but opted not to publicly seek applications because it would have slowed progress.
“We want to move forward and not hold anything back,” Shaheen said.
To contact writer Christina M. Wright, call 256-9685.