It was prior to the Jan. 5 meeting of the Fayetteville City Council that the majority of the night’s activity could be found. It was prior to the meeting that Greg Clifton was sworn-in as mayor and Ed Johnson and Mickey Edwards took the oath as new council members.
And there was a small amount of business on the agenda after the swearing-in ceremony had been completed. That business included the selection of the mayor pro-tem, appointments to two committees and a larger number of tabled items.
Council members voted unanimously to have Councilman Paul Oddo serve a mayor pro-tem during 2012.
Oddo and City Manger Joe Morton were selected to serve as the negotiating team for Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) distribution discussion later this year. Clifton and Finance Director Lynn Robinson were selected as alternates. Attorney Denny Galis was recommended to serve as the LOST mediator.
And rounding out the appointments, Councilman Ed Johnson and Councilman Larry Dell were appointed to serve on the city’s retirement committee.
The mass of potential appointments were tabled until March so that Clifton and the two new council members have an opportunity to “gain a better understanding of the duties and responsibilities and current members” serving on several of the boards.
Among those to be tabled are the expiring term of Ethics Board member Mike Wheat — a former mayor of Fayetteville — DDA member for former Councilman Al Hovey-King and Main Street members Mike Hofrichter, Cam Williams and Vicki Turner.
And being delayed until March for the same reason are the appointments of Derryll Anderson, Chet Enigenburg and Allan Feldman to the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission.
Clifton on Monday was asked if his consideration of Feldman to continue serving on the Planning and Zoning Commission would be influenced by the exchange the two had at the candidates’ forum prior to the election. Clifton said he and the two new council members want to meet with the potential appointees. While currently uncertain about Feldman’s appointment, Clifton said that he wants to “bury the hatchet,” adding that had he “over-reacted” at the forum in response to Feldman’s question.
That said, Clifton said he and the others were voted in to make changes so some changes will come, adding that he is also aware that are few people lining up to fill unpaid positons
So what was the exchange between Clifton and Feldman at the forum?
One of the questions from the audience dovetailed into a previous one on vacant buildings.
Feldman said his question was directed mainly to Clifton and Edwards. Feldman referenced “their ideas of lowering standards for business.” He referenced the state of the city in the 1980s when, “if you want to know what corruption was, with no standards, no building inspector … we had annexations late at night at unannounced meetings passed by emergency ordinance … this is what the standard procedures were.”
Feldman continued, asking, “How do you go ahead and lower your standards? These people (the current City Council) for two decades have been running this city government, and they’re boring, there’s nothing in the newspaper (about corruption) … there’s only one way to go and that’s back to the ’80s. I live on Jeff Davis, and as far as the bypass goes, if I could back out of my driveway five minutes earlier I’d be happy.”
Responding to Feldman’s remarks Clifton said, “Mr. Feldman as you remember, we have some family connection. You were the one who beat my father when he was on the council back in the day. The lowering of the standards wouldn’t necessarily be a permanent thing and do not presume we want to lower the standards of Riverdale. But I can tell you we have personal experience with the city trying to get business built and open. It’s not that big a deal. You’re stretching it to the extreme, my friend.”