Sunday, April 27, 2008

It's Merely Charlie Tygard's "Task Force": Has He Usurped the Vice Mayor?

Four years ago, the Scene's Liz Garrigan wrote of an effort by CM Charlie Tygard to run an end around on former Vice Mayor Howard Gentry by having a fellow member introduce a resolution naming him the chair of a task force after VM Gentry did not select him for a previous task force. Liz called CM Tygard to the mat:
So, instead of just handling the business of their neighborhoods and government, they look around to their council time as an opportunity to advance their own stature and--when they really want to feel strong--weaken someone else's.
In 2008 with his selection of the LED task force, CM Tygard is not even bothering to pursue the council's resolution process in his attempt to claim for himself committee assignment powers that belong to Vice Mayor Diane Neighbors. If only VM Neighbors has the power to appoint an LED task force (and I have heard that she has not approved it, yet), then can we really call CM Tygard's group "the LED task force"? It seems to be more accurate to describe it as Charlie Tygard's personal or political interest group.

And if this is more of a special interest group that is convening tomorrow night, then should CM Tygard be wasting Metro taxpayer dollars by holding the meeting at no expense to himself in a Metro facility, quite possibly requiring preparation of the meeting space and materials by Metro employees, and most surely resulting in clean-up and maintenance by service staff after the meeting is over? It is one thing to challenge the legitimacy of the Vice Mayor's power, but quite another to misuse public revenues for a group that has not been legitimately appointed by the person in charge of the Metro Council.

Charlie Tygard seems to exhibit a pattern of overreaching beyond the protocols of Metro governance. If he wants to appoint task forces, then perhaps he should have run against Diane Neighbors last year, instead of running against her now as a renegade off the reservation. Otherwise, I want to know whether his LED task force special interest group has any authority (as in, "given by the Metro Charter") whatsoever? Under the current Council rules can the Vice Mayor allow any recommendations from Mr. Tygard's group to be introduced in the future? And if Ms. Neighbors rubber stamps the group after the fact instead of calling Mr. Tygard to order, will she have compromised the power of her office and lose the respect of the council?

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