Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Mayor to widen board searches

BMore geographic diversity promised by MICHAEL CASS • Staff Writer (Tennessean) • April 2, 2008 Mayor Karl Dean said Tuesday that his appointments to Metro boards and commissions have not represented the county's geographic diversity as well as they could have and that he plans to do better. Dean said a story in Sunday's Tennessean caused him and his aides to review their appointments to dozens of Metro panels since he took office in September. The newspaper reported that about 30 percent of board and commission members — most of them appointed by previous mayors — hail from just two affluent areas: Belle Meade and Green Hills/Forest Hills. "We're not where I would want to be in terms of geographical diversity," Dean said. "Fortunately, it's only six months, and I would say that we're just going to concentrate on improving in that area." Dean's office submitted a new round of 18 appointments Tuesday for confirmation at the April 15 Metro Council meeting. None of the 18 lives in the 37205 Belle Meade or 37215 Green Hills ZIP codes, each of which has more than two times as many appointees as any other area. "It's important that everybody in the county feel they're part of the government," Dean said. Metro Councilman Mike Jameson said he was "grateful" that Dean was "broadening the depth of his search." Tuesday night the council unanimously confirmed the appointment of former Councilman Chris Whitson to the Metro Board of Zoning Appeals. Choice upsets some Dean's appointment of Whitson upset some council members and neighborhood leaders because the attorney lives in Belle Meade, which is not subject to Metro zoning laws, and he took some stances on the council that some viewed as anti-neighborhoods. "Mr. Whitson on a number of occasions opposed efforts by neighborhoods to protect themselves from incompatible development," Lane Easterly, treasurer of the Nashville Neighborhood Defense Fund, wrote to Dean on Monday. Whitson said he understands that his role on the zoning board is to interpret and apply existing laws rather than making new ones.

No comments: