At Tuesday night’s Metro Council meeting, nine members were seated to the founding board of directors of the city's new Convention Center Authority, though not without dissent from skeptics of plans to build the $600 million center downtown.
Madison-area Council member Michael Craddock said he found the candidates' lack of geographical diversity within the county "insulting" and wondered why there were no accountants, architects or engineers among the prospective board members.
Jim Gotto, representing much of the Hermitage area, voiced similar concerns, as did Councilman-at-Large Charlie Tygard. Gotto said he detected a "possible negative attitude toward Council oversight" on the part of some of the nine.
Councilman Mike Jameson, an outspoken critic of the convention center but rarely an ally of the Council's more conservative members, drew chuckles and a smattering of applause from colleagues when he rose to speak about the nominees.
"I don't know that I've ever begun a floor speech by saying that I want to echo the comments of Councilmen Tygard, Gotto and Craddock," he said.
In the end, as many as 10 members abstained from voting on some of the candidates, with a few votes cast against them. But the 40-member body easily confirmed all of them for terms of two to four years. Those chosen were as follows:
Vonda McDaniel, Leo Waters and William E. McDonald (two-year terms); the Rev. Darrell A. Drumwright, Mona Lisa Warren and W. Lucas Simons (three-year terms); C. Mark Arnold, Marty G. Dickens and Ken Levitan (four-year terms).
Coleman drops non-discrimination bill
Councilman Sam Coleman withdrew his bill to establish an alternative non-discrimination statute in the city.
Coleman's legislation would have outlawed discrimination in Metro government based on anything other than job performance. But Coleman sought to avoid creating new protected classes of individuals, as he felt the landmark bill sponsored by Councilwoman Megan Barry and passed in September would do.
With his bill on third and final reading, Coleman pulled it without addressing the chamber as to his reasons. He had told The City Paper this week that he was thinking of dropping it, in part because he did not wish "to cause tension with the Council."
Panel honors Officer Chesnut
Metro Police Sgt. Mark Chesnut, who was critically wounded in June after a routine traffic stop on a car that turned out to contain an escaped convict, was honored Tuesday.
Chesnut thanked his physicians, public supporters and fellow officers for their support in recent months as he underwent extensive medical treatment.