When the Ardmore Development Authority discussed the mayor's request to submit a nominee to its Board of Trustees, it was openly questioned whether or not the mayor was acting alone or with the backing of the Ardmore Commission.
Monday night, the board will get its answer.
In the agenda released Friday for the Ardmore City Commission meeting, a line item is listed on the consent agenda to confirm Mayor Bob Guerin's appointments and re-appointments to the Ardmore Development Authority. The appointments for the first three-year terms are Gary Farabough and Chris Sandvick and the second three-year term nominees are Michael Cawley and Henry Roberts. Both Cawley and Roberts are current members of the board and Farabough and Sandvick would receive the first term seats as nominees of Geurin.
Should Farabough and Sandvick be approved, it would be the first time the mayor and city commission provided input into the structure of the ADA Board of Trustees.
The ADA Trust Indenture, Ordinance No. 2009 Sec. 2-21.7(b) states, "Any organization contributing more than fifteen (15) percent of the budget for the Ardmore Development Authority may submit to the mayor a list of qualified persons for the Mayor's consideration when making the annual appointments to the Ardmore Development Authority Board of Trustees."
Given the board's ability to name its appointment is a privilege rather than an absolute, the mayor made his intention of naming his own appointment known to Wes Stucky, Executive Director & CEO of the ADA, twice in 2012.
"I talked to him in November and the first time was when Mindy Burdick resigned from the board in September," Geurin said. "The response was, 'OK.' I had never submitted a nominee and I wasn't sure they were going to replace her. I assumed when the time came, he would ask me who the nominee was. The next thing I know, the ADA has submitted four nominees."
Stucky was contacted by email asking for verification that Geurin had met with him and asked to place a nomination. Stucky responded, "The board came up with the nominations. The mayor wanted someone else. I told him the city commission has the right to appoint anyone they want to appoint. End of story."
Larry Pulliam, Chairman of the ADA Board and member of the nominating committee, was also contacted about whether Stucky had relayed Guerin's request to which he replied he was unaware of it.
"The message was not relayed to the nominating committee," Pulliam said. "I was not personally aware of any meeting that took place between Wes and the mayor."
Geurin said rather than place the board's recommendations on the agenda he, as well as Vice-Mayor Sheryl Ellis, met with Pulliam to discuss the board and other areas of concern with the ADA.
"I personally gave the letter back to the chairman and we met to talk about it several items," Geurin said. "I told him I would not accept them and, after I left his office, I went to J.D. Spohn's (City Manager) office and received a phone call from Wes Stucky. He was not happy that I wouldn't accept the nominations."
At that time, Geurin had one nominee for the board. Following a story published in The Ardmoreite about the mayor's intent to place a nominee on the board, he received three inquiries regarding placement on the board and decided to fill two spots.
"When the article came out in the newspaper, I had three more people contact me," Geurin said. "They said they would all love to serve and all are outstanding citizens."
The mayor's prerogative in submitting a nominee to serve on the board may be unprecedented for the ADA, but has been a practice with other committees, which also fall under the city's oversight.
"We appreciate what the ADA and the chamber of commerce have done," Geurin said. "In the past two years, we have reviewed the boards the city oversees and have made nominations on those boards."
Recent events are an example of what the mayor is concerned most about — a lack of communication between the ADA and the city and its citizens.
"We care about what goes on there and when you request information and do not receive it in a timely manner, it is a problem," Geurin said. "We should be in the loop and we are not. It is imperative we work together. It is imperative that there is communication with the city and the citizens of Ardmore or it won't work."
Michael Pineda