Something occurred at the October 26, 2010 Longmont City Council meeting that should trouble citizens and members of advisory boards. Councilmember Sean McCoy gave a public brow beating to Airport Advisory Board chair Howard Morgan. It’s the same thing he does, repeatedly, to Longmont Area Economic Council president John Cody.
Amongst the insults to members of the AAB, Councilmember McCoy made some assumptions about how citizen advisory boards operate. He asked of the AAB, “weren’t you directed by a majority of council to include CARE in the CIC”?
First off, citizen advisory boards aren’t directed by council. City staff are regularly directed by council. Boards normally get agenda items from staff, or from council through staff, to study and make recommendations to council. Council then makes decisions and votes and can either accept those recommendations partially or in full, or not at all. We on boards are citizens, we don’t work for council. As a matter of fact it’s the other way around. Councilmembers are the public servants elected by us, the citizens. We on boards volunteer to help further delve into subjects that run the gamut from golf courses, the library, transportation, and the airport.
To infer, as Mr. McCoy did, that we are councils serfs is ludicrous and insulting. Mr. McCoy grilled Mr. Morgan about changing the Community Involvement Committee, or CIC, specifically removing CARE from the Scope of Work. Our motion and vote wasn’t final, it was a recommendation to city council. The decision of council on this matter is final, and can be completely different from our recommendation. Case in point here: not only was CARE no longer in the process, but council voted to completely do away with the CIC, which was not an AAB recommendation.
Mr. McCoy said, speaking about myself, that some people like “adding drama to the process because it’s a lot of fun”. The drama and over-the-top propaganda campaign started and was escalated by CARE. I made the motion to remove CARE from the CIC to make it clear that we will not condone such methods – almost guerrilla tactics – in what’s supposed to be a serious matter. If the council wanted to overturn that and reinsert CARE back in the process, that was their call, but us as an advisory board wanted to be on record as not endorsing CARE’s behavior. This motion received unanimous support.
Mr. McCoy also referred to me as “a rogue member that seems to be kind of out of control and not understanding what the process is”. I was heavily involved in the last Master Plan, and even got some airport neighbors who weren’t exactly pro-airport out to the open houses. I wasn’t “rogue” – others on the board agreed and stated as such. I wasn’t “out of control” – I knew exactly what I was doing with a definite purpose. And I understand the process quite clearly.
By contrast, Mr. McCoy has been on the losing (1-6) side of at least three council votes involving CARE, the CIC, and the Scope of Work. Who is “rogue” again? By his votes he stands up for, a) the lowest common denominator, b) the people who make the most noise, c) those that invent facts to support their questionable positions, and d) people who harass and attack legitimate tax-paying businesses, pilots, and various other airport users. And he has the nerve to name-call the rest of us? Who is “out of control” again?
While I thank Brian Hansen, and the other five members for their votes on this issue, I do take issue with his assertion about the makeup and agenda of the AAB. He said “we’re not going to get a balanced opinion” from the AAB, and asked of the background of the current AAB members. All of the current members have been appointed during his (and McCoy and Levison’s) tenure. Does he not know who applied, who he interviewed, or how he voted – for or against – on various boards?
I don’t expect him to remember all of those appointments, but if he’s going to make such a statement and ask our chairman “isn’t it true” while impugning our character and motives that he might consider looking back at those votes. He voted for some of those members himself, but doesn’t he at least read all the applications? I do, and I’m not a member of council.
What is council’s limit when it comes to this kind of activity by their colleagues? I view this as nothing but an attempt at intimidation of a board to bend to council’s will. If censure isn’t an option, at the very least the other city councilmembers should demand that Sean McCoy apologize to Mr. Morgan, the AAB, and the public in general over his behavior at that meeting.