Appointments and reappointments to the Romulus Brownfield Redevelopment Authority prompted a request for more public involvement during the April 11 meeting of the city council members.
Mayor Robert McCraight announced his choices for appointments and re-appointments to the authority which meets on an as-needed basis and is advisory. He requested council members approve the appointments of Michael Hoffman, Emory Long and Yolana Brown Ali to the volunteer group and re-appoint Dean Trudeau and Randy Moffet to the authority with all terms to expire July 13 of 2025.
Prior to a vote on the appointments, Councilwoman Virginia Williams said that she had received calls from residents concerned about the appointments of the same group of individuals to various committees and commissions in the city. She said it “seems the same individuals are being appointed” and asked why other residents of the city who applied for various commissions and boards “were not even considered.”
McCraight responded that his office considers every applicant who volunteers to serve on a city committee. He explained, too, that in the case of the Brownfield Authority, the appointments were time sensitive as there was grant money involved.
“I've been encouraging residents to become involved,” McCraight said. “We'd love to have more participation, especially from our new residents and not use the same people all the time.”
Councilwoman Kathy Abdo responded and said that she was aware of McCraight's attempts to encourage residents to participate, but that often people were unaware that an opening was available or a vacancy about to occur.
“When we have an upcoming board opening, can we announce it? That would show we are serious about getting people involved,” she suggested. Abdo added that the announcements of upcoming vacancies on various city boards could be posted on the city website and included in the various social media announcements of upcoming events in the city.
McCraight said he was in favor of the suggestion and felt the added notifications might increase participation.
Councilwoman Eva Webb said that the Brownfield Development Authority is “very, very important, but it is on an as-needed basis.” She added that when she served on the authority which “helps promote rebalance and greening” in the community, the group met only once in two years. “It is an advisory board, not a commission or a committee,” she said.
“We need Brownfield in our city and I am satisfied with those appointed by the mayor, they have the necessary qualifications,” Webb added.
Williams responded that she had no problem with those individuals the mayor had selected for appointment. “It is not an issue of committee or commission. It is to show that we give concerns of residents to the mayor and he will answer,” she said.
The appointments and re-appointments were approved by unanimous vote.