The Waukesha Business Improvement finally has enough members on its Board of Directors that it can start operations.
The BID has undergone a major upheaval after the majority of its 13-member board resigned following accusations of hostile working conditions from its resigning executive director. Mayor Jeff Scrima and the Waukesha Common Council have been battling for months over his appointments to the board.
The board could not meet without a quorum of at least seven members. The council appointed the seventh member during its meeting Tuesday night. Sandy Cianciolo, owner of Mia’s in downtown Waukesha, was appointed on a 7-6 vote.
Voting for the appointment were:
- Paul Ybarra
- Vance Skinner
- Steve Johnson
- Roger Patton
- Andy Reiland
- Joan Francoeur
- Duane Paulson
Voting against the appointment were:
- Rick Hastings
- Joe Pieper
- Kathleen Cummings
- Eric Payne
- Terry Thieme
- John Kalblinger
Absent at the time of the vote:
- Chris Hernandez
- Adam Jankowski
For those approving the appointment, they did it with a word of caution. Ybarra quizzed Cianciolo about his commitment to continuing the BID.
“We need some harmony,” Ybarra said. “We really need a group that can put aside any of these other items, petty issues, and work with a calm, level head with respect. … Sometimes it is tough because people have opposing viewpoints.”
In approving the appointments, Ybarra expressed his displeasure with the mayor for not bring more people forward and for not appoint an alderman to the board. For weeks, the Waukesha aldermen have told the mayor they want more diverse appointments and an alderman to be appointed to the board.
“For some reason, this particular mayor can’t bring one of those names,” Ybarra said about people the council have suggested.
Paulson’s been vocal against the mayor’s appointment selections. He said Tuesday he was disappointed that names the council brought to the mayor were not appointed. However, he decided to extend “the olive branch.”
“Don’t let the fruit rot,” Paulson warned.
City Administrator Ed Henschel, who is a member of the BID board, told the council in a memo he hasn’t discussed the individual appointments with Scrima. However, he urged the council to approve the appointment to get the BID working again.
“This will provie me the opportunity to work with the board to develop a reorganization plan and budget for 2013,” Henschel said in the memo.
“It has been very clear that the council desires to have one of its members on the board,” Henschel added. "I have discussed that with the mayor and he is willing to appoint a council member to the BID board. In fact, he stated to me that if the council would approve Sandy Cianciolo, he would then nominate a council member to the board as well.”
Eleven board members resigned from the board in September following a controversial resignation letter and a council woman's request to remove the entire board.
The controversy stems from a resignation that letter that former Executive Director Meghan Sprager submitted in August that cited hostile working conditions from two BID board members as the reason for her departure.
Properties in the downtown area are taxed a special assessment to fund services of the BID, such as marketing, special events and business recruitment and retention.