Mayor, council at odds on CID appointments
by Jessicah Peters
July 19, 2014 12:00 AM | 3263 views | 2 2 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Gene Hobgood
Gene Hobgood
Dennis Burnette
Dennis Burnette
Sandy McGrew
Sandy McGrew
CANTON — Mayor Gene Hobgood’s second attempt to fill a vacant seat on the Canton Marketplace Community Improvement District Board and appoint a new member failed at Thursday’s city council meeting.

Former Cherokee Bank president Dennis Burnette and Canton City Council Member Sandy McGrew were nominated by Hobgood for the board, but three council members rejected both, giving no explanation for their vote.

It’s the second time Council Members Jack Goodwin, Hooky Huffman and John Rust have overruled Hobgood’s nominations.

At a council meeting in June, Hobgood attempted to appoint Councilman Bill Grant, who would have replaced former Councilman John Beresford, but his recommendation failed to pass in a 4-1 vote.

The CID board handles administrative matters for the district, which is made up of representatives from a few of the big-box stores in retail development and representatives from the city. The board’s chief duties include setting a millage rate, which the members pay on top of city taxes for infrastructure improvements.

McGrew cast the only vote at the June meeting for Grant, who abstained. The other council members said at the time they voted “no” because the mayor sprung the issue on them and he seemed to be playing favorites, always picking Grant to serve on committees.

But Goodwin, Huffman and Rust stayed silent after Thursday’s vote when Hobgood asked if any member wanted to share their reasoning behind their votes.

When asked Friday who he would rather see appointed, Huffman responded he had no knowledge of the board, despite the board appointments being discussed at previous council meetings.

“I didn’t know there was a CID committee and I guess didn’t pay much attention to it,” Huffman said. “There’s so many other areas to focus on.”

Goodwin said Friday he had no comment about the board appointments. Rust said he also didn’t want to make a statement.

Hobgood said Friday he selected Burnette based on his experience and involvement in the community.

Burnette is listed as both Hobgood’s campaign chairman and treasurer, campaign disclosures filed with the state show.

“He’s been around local government for a long time, serves on the Canton Development Authority and he’s been a citizen here for quite a while,” Hobgood said. “The only reason I can see why they voted against Burnette is because they feel Pat Fowler is doing a great job with the board. I felt that since Sandy was new to the council, this might be a good opportunity for her to get her feet wet.”

Grant made the motion to appoint McGrew, but it failed to move forward for lack of a second. Hobgood said he has no indication of why the council members would not want McGrew on the board.

McGrew also stated she didn’t understand why the three other council members didn’t approve her to be on the board.

“No one told me about the qualifications, but before my accident about 19 years ago, I was studying horticulture and urban design, which gives me a little bit of knowledge that would’ve been useful to the board,” McGrew said. “I think, going forward, we all need to sit down and discuss what the council’s goals are for this board and which representative is the best fit for us to reach that goal.”

McGrew mentioned the council has a retreat in the upcoming months and it would be her suggestion to add the CID board appointments to the list of items to discuss.

Unlike other committee and board appointments, council members cannot overrule the mayor’s appointments and then appoint their own. Hobgood said since the CID’s method of appointment is in state legislation, it cannot be changed.

“Under our charter, the mayor makes an appointment and then it’s subject to council approval. If they reject the appointment, they can nominate someone else, but not with the CID board,” Hobgood said. “The method of appointment is in state legislation. They can reject a nomination, but have to reject or approve. They can’t give their own nomination.”

Hobgood said the board will have to go without a city council representative for a while. He said there was no justification in for rejecting McGrew or Grant.

“I always have to make the appointments, which are subject to their approval, but it’s very unlikely I’m going to nominate someone who has rejected my appointments twice,” Hobgood said. “That seat will just have to go without a council member for some time.”

Comments-icon Post a Comment
Bill Bryan
July 20, 2014
I KNEW you guys would miss me!!
July 19, 2014
I expected Huffman to be clueless as usual, and for Jack to be MIA. Too bad J Rust has decided to simply obstruct for no reason other than spite. I thought he was above that and would put the city residents first. Many of us had high hopes for this council. Now we miss the last bunch of dysfunctionals. Welcome to the circus........
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