Jamestown City Council voted down Mayor Eddie Sundquist‘s citizen appointments to the Board of Public Utilities as well as the reappointment of Justin Hubbard to the Human Rights Commission.
City Clerk Jennifer Williams read a letter from the Human Rights Commission advocating for Hubbard’s reappointment, “We feel it is our duty to try to convey to our elected representatives how much we value Mr. Hubbard and the ideas, thoughtfulness, and passion that he brings to our group. As a teacher, he brings a point of view regarding education that helps us better understand and address human rights issues in our schools.”
Resident Missy Paterniti spoke out against Hubbard being reappointed, saying he publicly attacked her at an HRC meeting by calling her a racist and a bigot in response to her creating a petition to the school district to keep the “Red Raiders” name, “I contacted Elliot Raimondo [City Corporation Counsel] and nothing happened. I wrote to the mayor. And I’m just asking you, as the city council, that have the ability to remove this gentleman from the commission, please do so because he doesn’t belong there.”
Hubbard, speaking at privilege of the floor, said he was approached by Mayor Sundquist following rallies he helped organize after George Floyd‘s death in 2020 about serving on a reinstated Human Rights Commission. Hubbard said while on the HRC, he was approached by members of the community regarding issues on discrimination in relation to religion, race, and sexuality, “Even though I knew that some of these complaints were about members of council and that would make some members of this council unhappy with me for bringing them to the table, I knew that it was my duty to do so. I also believe that the passion I brought to this position made it so that people could feel free to contact me when dealing with very stressful issues.”
Council voted 2 to 6 not to reappoint Hubbard with Brent Sheldon, Marie Carrubba, Andrew Faulkner, Kim Ecklund, Randy Daversa, and Jeff Russell voting no.
The appointment of Sean Conner and Sabrina Gustafson to the BPU Board to replace Jim Olson and Greg Rabb failed 4 to 4 with Brent Sheldon, Andrew Faulkner, Kim Ecklund, and Randy Daversa voting no.
Council President Tony Dolce said while he supported the appointments to the BPU board, he doesn’t know why other council members did not but he guessed it may have come down to qualifications, “In the past, there’s always been a kind of.. not going to say controversy but discussion over replacing long time members that have experience with newcomers. And this mayor wanted to put his people in just like the previous mayor did as well. And so I don’t know specifically why those two individuals were voted down by specific council people.”
Jim Olson and Greg Rabb will remain on the BPU board as holdovers until new appointments can be made.
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