JAMESTOWN – A city resident is letting city officials know he’s upset over not being reappointed to a city agency at the start of the new year.
Former Riverfront Management Council member Doug Champ said that despite his effort to help the city secure significant funding for projects related to the riverfront, he was not reappointed to the council by Mayor Sam Teresi during the city’s inaugural meeting on Jan. 8.
“When I got [on the council] I found that the city didn’t know that they were eligible for county bed tax money…. So I went after that money and submitted an application – the city did not do anything with this – we submitted it, Twan Leenders and I and David Spann… and we got $40,000 to do that work,” Champ said. “In addition to that I suggested the Board of Public Utilities become part of the stakeholders and pay dues to the [Chautauqua Watershed and Management Alliance], so they can also use some of that money for other things and leverage it. What happened? We put together another project, I went up there and sold it to the county and they awarded $28,000. Nobody from the city came along with me on that.”
Champ also said his work on the management council was also partly the reason why the city received a $316,000 state soil and conservation grant from the state.
But despite his efforts, Champ said the mayor chose not to reappoint him because of his voicing concerns and criticism of city operations.
“So what do I get? I don’t get reappointed to the Riverfront Management Council. But the mayor sees fit to reappoint a person – and I have no problem with him – to three separate [agencies] and he was voted out of office,” Champ said, referring to the appointment of ousted council president Greg Rabb to the BPU and City Planning Commission.
Champ felt he was passed over for reappointment because of his criticism on issues the mayor favored.
“It’s obvious to me that the mayor does not want me on a commission, so he fired a volunteer… So I ask you as city council people, is this how you want volunteers to be treated? And you all know what I’ve done. I’ve come here to talk about things,” Champ said. “You shouldn’t play politics on volunteers.”
Last year during the ongoing budget process, Champ had questioned the mayor for not providing a balanced executive budget to the city council, which was required in the city bylaws. He also has voiced concerns over the proposed annexation of the BPU Dow St. Substation property in the town of Ellicott/Village of Falconer, as well as the proposed sale of the city Wastewater Treatment Plant to the Jamestown Local Development Corporation.
Mayor Teresi, who was in attendance, didn’t speak directly to Champ’s concerns over not being reappointed. He did say that he wouldn’t get into the details or rationale as to who he appoints and doesn’t appoint, but does put a lot of thought into it.
Champ also again voiced his criticism of the proposal to sell the Wastewater Treatment Plant to the JLDC and accused the city of trying to bypass the process by not holding a public hearing on the matter. Teresi responded to that by saying it was unequivocally false and that there would be a hearing.
“Let me assure everybody in the room,” Teres said. “We have a whole fleet of attorneys out there, in house as well as outside consultants, that will be making sure every damn step of any process that you take is completely legal and appropriate.”