Last night, the City Commission meeting was HEATED. A packed room was there to discuss the appointments to the Library Board.
Why are people showing up about library board appointments?
If you’re not in the know, in August the City Commission decided to put their thumb on the scale about “rubber stamping” board appointments — but only for the library board. *Cough cough, bullshit.* You can read our earlier blog post about their political maneuvering here: (https://wtf406.com/2023/08/city-commission-changes-the-rules-for-library-board-appointments/).
In August, the City Commission questioned how the library board, and only the library board, did their appointment process. Then the City Commision asked the library board to go back and redo the process again. The library board was asked to put out a public notice for applicants, interview those applicants, and give recommendations to the commission. Well, the library board did all the tasks the commission placed on them and put forth their appointment recommendations for Anne Bulger and Jerry Hopkins. These appointments to the library board were on the City Commission Meeting Agenda last night.
Commissioners playing games
But the city commission wasn’t done fucking around with these volunteer board members. Commissioners Rick Tryon, Joe McKenny, and Eric Hinebauch (all well known to be Republicans) led the charge. Commissioner Rick Tryon made allegations that the library board is a rubber stamp based on their history of unanimous votes on motions. How many other boards have unanimous votes, Rick?? Wooo, conspiracy. “We need diversity,” and “we shouldn’t be a rubber stamp,” said Commissioner Joe McKenney. Okay that is completely unbelievable because why is the process only different for the library board, Joe?
Then to top it off, Commissioner Eric Hinebauch amended the appointment motion. Rather than accepting the motion that the City Commission follow the library board’s recommendations, Eric amended the motion to appoint Noelle Johnson instead of Jerry Hopkins to the board. WTF?
Who is Noelle Johnson and why did Commissioner Hinebauch amend the motion in order to appoint her? Her affiliations became rapidly clear when the support for Noelle in the room was solely from the far-right Pachyderm crowd. Former County Commissioner Jane Weber made public comments that Noelle is associated with Sandra Merchant and her election fraud conspiracy group. We checked and yep, she signed that insane petition to return to only hand counting ballots that we previously flagged here: (https://wtf406.com/2023/04/elections-update-things-just-got-worse/). Yikes. When pressed by Mayor Kelly on why he amended the motion to appoint Noelle in particular, Commissioner Eric Hinebauch didn’t have a good reason. He mumbled something about wanting “diversity” on the board. Okay that isn’t at all persuasive. Why is she a good choice for the library board??
In the end the conservative block on the City Commission did what they came to do. They picked a partisan hack to install on the library board. Noelle Johnson and Anne Bulger were appointed to the library board.
What can we do?
The silver lining is we get to vote on the makeup of our City Commission soon! That’s right, there’s a city election in November where you can vote for new City Commissioners. Remember in November. Vote!