By Howard Packowitz
BLOOMINGTON – Bloomington City Council members rejected a pair of Mayor Tari Renner’s appointments to a city commission Monday night, and in doing so exposed tensions involving the Twin-Cities’ public transit system.
Only council members Scott Black and Jeff Crabill sided with the mayor as the council turned down Renner’s picks for two of the three vacant seats on the Transportation Commission. The nominees apparently didn’t want to serve on that panel.
Council member Joni Painter said Air Force Veteran and regular bus rider John Corey really wants to serve on the Connect Transit Board even though Renner and Normal Mayor Chris Koos are waiting for the Connect Transit working group to finish its work before they appoint new board members.
“He’s exactly the kind of Connect Transit Board candidate the citizens are clamoring for. John actually called me up about a month ago and told me that he really, really wants to be on the Connect Transit Board. I think we should allow him to have his first choice,” said Painter.
The council member said working group members are frustrated as they face a year-end goal of coming up with recommendations for the transit system’s future.
“They feel like they are not being heard, and they are not being represented on the Connect Transit Board,” said Painter.
“I feel very strongly that John Corey would be just the kind of person that they would be very grateful to have on the board,” she said.
The City Council also rejected Guadalupe Diaz III’s Transportation Commission’s nomination because Painter said Diaz would rather serve on the city’s Planning Commission.
The council approved Renner’s five other picks for various commissions. The mayor said candidates very often don’t get their first choices.
Howard Packowitz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org