Douglas City Council Takes Unprecedented Step In Appointing - Then Booting - Tim Glinski From Douglas DDA Board
In an unprecedented move, the Douglas City Council revoked the appointment of a person to a board, and did so at the very next council meeting preceding the meeting in which that person was appointed.
The action to remove Tim Glinski from the Douglas Downtown Development Authority (DDA)—approved in a four-to-three roll call vote—was not part of Monday night’s agenda.
Douglas Council Member Neil Seabert, who had approved Glinski’s appointment at the previous meeting, had the item added to the agenda for a vote.
Glinski’s appointment to the DDA, per the recommendation of Douglas Mayor James Wiley, passed in a five-to-two vote at the March 2nd meeting, with Douglas Mayor Pro-Tem Martha Hoexter and Douglas Council Member Gerald Schmidt being the dissenting voices.
Monday’s turn of events—done without the benefit of an extended discussion beforehand— puzzled some of the attending public and shocked Glinski, who was also present at the meeting.
“I am at a loss to know what substantially has changed (between today and two weeks ago),” Glinski told council following the vote to revoke him.
“From what I can tell from this discussion, there is extreme prejudice.
“This removal can be done without any notice?” Glinski asked, questioning whether the council had just violated the Open Meetings Act since the public—particularly those half a dozen residents who wrote letters supporting his candidacy and several who went before council to speak positively about his qualifications and character—had not been given the same opportunity to speak about the revocation process as they had been given during the approval process.
What occurred between Monday and two weeks ago that caused some council members to have a change of heart?
If indeed the reason the council gave for revoking Glinski’s appointment is true— without considering other possible factors at play—then the easy answer is the following: the council had a different response to Glinski’s words he spoke orally at a meeting before his appointment and those same words read in printed form.
At a meeting last month on February 16, before Glinski’s nomination and subsequent approval to the DDA, Glinski read aloud from a prepared statement offering his views on ways to revitalize the economically struggling downtown district, specifically positing that government ought to have a role in that effort.
That same statement was later sent to some city officials as well as provided to a local newspaper which later printed the statement verbatim a couple of days following Glinski’s nomination to the DDA.
On Monday, Seabert, who was present at the February 16 meeting where Glinski read aloud his statement, said he had read the statement in the newspaper—the written version of Glinski’s comments which was printed—and had found the language “pessimistic.”
Seabert called on council to remove Glinski and replace him with a candidate that possessed a more positive disposition to confront the pervasive problems facing the downtown district: economically lagging and failing to attract visitors.
But not all were on board with Seabert.
Douglas Mayor James Wiley—a DDA representative himself and who voted against Glinski’s revocation—knew before Monday night’ meeting what some of his colleagues were up to and planning on doing because on Monday he read aloud from a prepared, printed statement.
He severely admonished those colleagues who voted for Glinski’s revocation.
Visibly upset, Wiley read, in part, “This is the most negative and ill-informed action I’ve seen this council make in my four years here. “And I want to take this opportunity to publicly apologize to Mr. Glinski.”
Elsewhere he noted, “Does this council not realize what a challenge it is to attract and encourage qualified residents to participate and volunteer in local government?…Would Mr. Glinski’s ideas and votes always align with others on the DDA? We will now never know.
“First we approved his appointment and now we un-approved it,” added Wiley. “But what we need now in a downtown Douglas (are) new ideas. And council members, please put this in perspective. Mr. Glinski would be one of nine DDA members…it takes five out of nine votes to pass any motions on the DDA.”
Douglas Council Members Greg Harvath and Eric Smith joined Wiley against the revocation, extending a thank you to Glinski for his participation and for wanting to serve on the DDA.
Meanwhile, Douglas Mayor Pro-Tem Martha Hoexter and Douglas Council Members Bill Japinga and Gerald Schmidt joined Seabert in the vote to remove Glinski.
The remarks Glinski made at the February 16 meeting—later printed in a newspaper verbatim—that were apparently the cause of contention, read, in part:
“…in light of the Council being addressed by a vocal downtown merchant (referring to John Thomas, owner of Phillip & Son Jewerly, Thomas Greene, and the soon-to-open Mixed Media Gallery) who merely leases space in downtown, and who feels that ‘government’ shouldn’t have a role in the downtown, I strongly object.
“As a property owner heavily invested in Douglas, I want to register my position formally…For example, the subject of “hours of operation” has once again been raised by this individual.
“I do not know of a merchant or property owner who knowingly closes their doors to refuse business or turn customers away. Such an idea is nonsense.
“Hours of operation are typically set based on Douglas as a tourist destination, and enough customers are not present to justify the expense of opening in the dead of winter.”
Glinski is the former Douglas Village president (2002 to 2004), a former Douglas DDA member (1999 to 2002), a long-time resident and property owner and business owner in the downtown business district.