Davis Suffers Another Setback, Rebuked on Planning Commission Appointment

January 29, 2015 | Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis suffered another political setback at last night's Elk Grove City Council meeting. As...

January 29, 2015 |

Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis suffered another political setback at last night's Elk Grove City Council meeting. As has been the case with his numerous setbacks, this one involved an appointment to the city's planning commission.

As a last minute addition to the council's special meeting's agenda, Davis sought to appoint a new planning commissioner. The proposed appointment was to replace Nancy Chaires, who resigned following her appointment to the Elk Grove Unified School District Board of Trustees. 

After their closed session portion of the special meeting, Davis introduced his appointee, Amy Tong. Appearing before the council, Tong, a 20-year Elk Grove resident, briefly described her education and qualifications for the vacancy. In addition to her professional position with The State of California, Tong is the Vice Chair and immediate past president of Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association (APAPA) and listed as a supporter of Elk Grove Council Member Steve Ly. 

"I volunteer in the community for close to fifteen years now," Tong said. "In order for us to make the community that we live in a better place for all, we have to put in our time."

During their deliberations, Vice Mayor Pat Hume, and Elk Grove Council Member Steve Detrick commended Tong's qualifications but condemned Davis' approach to filling the vacancy. Hume questioned Davis' motivation and expressed concern over this process. 

Davis said he wanted to streamline the appointment process saying there were several pressing issues facing the planning commission and Tong could step in immediately. The Mayor also said he was set on appointing Tong and "he didn't want to waste anyone's time" applying for the appointment.

Hume said Davis' explanation put him in a conundrum.

"I can't stomach this process, or lack thereof, but I have nothing against the person you put forward," Hume said. "I don't want to vote against her, but I don't know that I can vote for how you chosen to fulfill such a procedure."

Agreeing with Hume was Council Member Steve Detrick who called the procedure foul.

"It's about the process," he said.

For his part, Council Member Steve Ly wondered aloud if there has ever been any discussion about setting term and time limits to the city's various commission and committee appointments.   

"That may be wise for us since we are growing as a city," Ly said. "I see other cities that actually do that."  

When it became apparent to Davis that he did not have the support of Detrick, Hume, and Council Member Darren Suen, he agreed to table Tong's nomination. Instead, an application period will be opened for those interested in applying for the position.

For Davis, this was another setback in appointments to the planning commission. In 2013, Davis was blocked in his nomination of former Elk Grove Council Member Sophia Scherman and at the last meeting he scuttled plans to remove Chaires and current planning commissioner Frank Maita.        

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Romper Room said...

What about Hume saying he would support Ms. Tong's appointment admonishing Davis, "If you promise never to do this again!"

The Vice Mayor scolding the Mayor. I was waiting for him to give him a time out!

Warren Buffett said...

I voter for Lynn Wheat! She knows way more than any of those Johnny-come-lately interlopers and won't rubber stamp anything.

It would take political courage to appoint her, but if the leaders truly want to make the best decisions, then listen to all points of views first. Unbound her from her 3-minute time limit!

Anonymous said...

A Planning Commission has broad power to recommend and study city planning. As a concerned citizen I feel this commission's authority is too extensive to be granted to an unelected body with all members selected by one elected official. More input would allow for more direct citizen representation. I do not know Ms. Tong and she may be very qualified for this position, but I do wonder why she placed herself in this position when she should have known full well where this could possibly go. But then again, maybe she doesn't keep herself abreast of how many feel about this process, even though it is apparently legal.

Anonymous said...

Davis -
It is not a waste of time to 'take the time' to go through a formal application process.

Other city committees have application forms and an application process, as I know from personal experience.

I hope that all committees and commissions do so as a matter of city ethics and to avoid the appearance of or actual cronyism.

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