JAMESTOWN – Former Jamestown City Council President Greg Rabb is the new chair of the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities.
Rabb, who lost reelection in November, was appointed to the BPU earlier this month by Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi following approval by the Jamestown City Council. On Monday, Rabb was unanimously elected chairman of the BPU during its first meeting of the new year.
In addition to serving on the BPU, Rabb was also appointed to the Jamestown Planning Commission, where he was also elected chairman. He also remains on the city’ Strategic Planning and Partnership Commission and serves a co-chair of that agency.
The continued role Rabb will play in city government isn’t sitting well with one member of the city council. Councilman Andrew Liuzzo (R-At Large) – who was elected in November to his first term – questioned Rabb’s appointment to both agencies, as well as being elected chairman.
“We have a past councilman that lost an election. He came in fifth out of six candidates. This was a mandate from the public. The people did not want to see his continued involvement,” Liuzzo said during Monday night city council work session. “I think there’s a conflict of interest. When you have the same person serving on three committees that have say on different aspects on what the city has to do,” Liuzzo said. “If he votes ‘no’ on one committee, does that vote carry on to the two other committees. If he votes ‘yes’ is it ‘yes’ for the two other committees? Mr. Rabb did not finish his term. Mr. Rabb lost an election. He was not reelected by the people of Jamestown.”
Ranking Councilman Tony Dolce (R-Ward 2), who served as president pro tem during Monday’s work session due to council president Marie Carrubba being absent – rebutted Liuzzo’s comments by saying it was not uncommon for former council members to serve on city agencies after they’ve left office, either through retirement or not being reelected.
“It’s very common in past practice, not just with this mayor but with the previous mayor that I served with, to appoint former council people. Whether they chose not to run or retire or whether they got beat in an election, I don’t think that that is a referendum that they should be thrown or kicked to the curb,” Dolce said. “You could say he came in fifth place, but you could also say there was 1900 people in this community that voted for him.”
Dolce also pointed to Rabb’s experience in city government. Prior to losing last year’s election, Rabb had been elected five times and served as council president for 10 years. He also served on the BPU as a council representative, as well as co-chair of the Strategic Planning and Partnership Commission.
Earlier this month, Teresi also commented on the Rabb appointment to the BPU.
“Greg was a good fit. Obviously he knows the lay of the land. We are dealing with a variety of issues right now that are in mid-stream and I think that continuity as well as the cohesion on that board is important,” Teresi told WRFA following the council’s inaugural meeting on Jan. 8. “I thought that keeping that board in tact was important.”
Meanwhile, in addition to his concerns over Rabb, Liuzzo also said he felt the city governments needed to be more transparent and it was up to the city council to make that happen. He cited the mayoral appointments at the start of the year as an example, saying the list of appointees was not made available to the public until they were actually voted on by the council. He was also against having the council block all appointments into a single vote, which had become customary for the council in recent years. The final vote on the more than two dozen votes was 8 to 1, with Liuzzo being the lone “no” vote.