LIMA — While Lima City Council’s Monday meeting featured little conversation, councilors showed they will be ready and willing on Tuesday to discuss the need for minority representation on executive boards.
In the city council meeting held two weeks prior, Lima African American Chamber of Commerce President Tim Callahan submitted public comment highlighting the lack of diversity on many local ruling executive boards, and councilors agreed to take up the issue.
Since that time, Economic and Community Development Committee Chair Carla Thompson has scheduled an April 21 meeting to discuss the topic, to be held at 5:30 p.m. online, and councilors deferred to the meeting before they voted on Monday night ordinances re-appointing members to the Design Review Board, Urban Forestry Council and the Parks and Recreation Board.
“I, too, would like to ask, if there is no urgency for these appointments at this time, that we give it a second reading to see how the boards work and how these appointments are made,” Councilor Peggy Ehora said.
Similar requests were made by Councilors Jamie Dixon, Thompson, Derry Glenn and Tony Wilkerson.
Mayor David Berger clarified earlier in the meeting that most appointments for city boards are made at the direction of the mayor with council’s usual approval. Each position has set requirements defined by individual boards.
With that said, there’s no single reporting organization that tracks board representation across communities. A single entity, like the city, however, may impose guidelines on the particular appointments that it makes.
In related news: Councilors voted down an ordinance Monday that would have resulted in a raise for the City of Lima’s newly-hired chief technology officer. Councilors Glenn, Dixon and Jon Neeper voted against the bill during its second reading.
Glenn said that he would normally vote in favor of such a bill, but with the coronavirus causing damage to many families and laid-off workers, he expressed concern that the city is considering spending dollars on a raise when plenty are in need.
“A lot of people are off work right now. It’s not good,” Glenn said. “I’d support it 150%, but not today.”
In comparison, Thompson and Ehora expressed their support of the bill, pointing out the need of a solid tech-minded employee who can help beef up city cybersecurity when most everyone is relying on technology.
“Cybersecurity is probably one of the most important things that anybody can be doing, especially during this pandemic,” Ehora said.
After being voted down on second reading, the bill is scheduled for a third reading during council’s next meeting on May 4.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.