Usually around this time of year, most commission appointments are up for renewal or for new blood to take the reins. For the past few Common Council meetings where appointments are being made, though, I've noticed a glaring issue.
At the request of aldermen in the past, whenever an appointment is made the aldermanic district in which the appointee lives is shown. This was intended to show any possible issues with commission appointments and if there was any particular "favoritism" being shown. It seems an issue has been found: Commission appointments rarely include residents from Aldermanic District 1.
Take for example tonight's Council agenda. There are 25 residents being nominated for various commissions in Franklin. This number is minus the Board of Review appointments, which each alderman and the mayor has a citizen representative on that Board. With that said, let's break down the nominations by aldermanic district:
- District 2 (Alderman Solomon): 5 appointments
- District 3 (Alderwoman Wilhelm): 3 appointments
- District 4 (CCP Taylor): 5 appointments
- District 5 (Alderman Schmidt): 7 appointments
- District 6 (Alderman Skowronski): 4 appointments
- DISTRICT 1 (Alderman Olson): 1 appointment
For commission appointments, the Mayor makes the nominations and the Council approves them, usually without little question. The Mayor does make note that for some commissions there are many wishing to sit on them. In some respects, it could be argued that it is unfortunate that some residents are bypassed in favor of present commissioners being renewed for another several years. But I digress.
District 1's lack of citizen representation isn't only shown on agendas like this one tonight. Since Alderman Olson and Mayor Taylor been at odds with each other, District 1 residents seem to be receiving less influence on city matters via commission representation.
In closing, I wanted to acknowledge that I am a District 1 resident and was selected by the Mayor to serve on the city's Trails Committee last year. I am grateful for this appointment and appreciate serving Franklin to the best of my ability. In saying this, though, other residents in my district should be interested in similar service, and if so, should have a similar opportunity.