Ward 3 Councillor Arthur Guinasso took the issue of the multiple resignations from the Conservation Commission into the public spotlight, requesting a meeting with Mayor Brian Arrigo to discuss the matter.
“What’s going with the Conservation Commission?” Guinasso inquired aloud at the Appointments Subcommittee meeting that he chairs.
“In the past couple of weeks and months, several members of this Commission resigned. This is my 34th year as a public servant, and we’ve never had so many resignations from one committee. Our oversight responsibility from this group is that we need to get these questions answered so the public will have an awareness as to what’s taking place in our city. We need to do something.”
Ward 1 Councillor Joanne McKenna weighed in on the resignations, stating that she had talked to former members of the Commission.
“It was noted to me that they’re not disgusted, but they don’t have any real say in the matter of conservation land,” said McKenna. “They’ll get something in front of them and they’ll go down to the site to see it, and the production’s already started. So they’re getting fed up with the process and they don’t want to be there anymore because the process is not working.”
McKenna felt it was her obligation as a former president of the Friends of the Belle Isle Marsh to expound on the rocky situation at the Conservation Commission, “instead of keeping it to myself and not saying it.”
Ward 4 Councillor John Powers said he has visited several sites with members of the Commission. “I’m a little concerned right now because I don’t know how many members we have on the board or who the chairperson is,” said Powers.
Guinasso ultimately requested that the Council confer with Mayor Arrigo on the issue “as soon as possible.”
“We need to sit with the Mayor and collectively come up with something and find out so we can report back [to the Subcommittee] about what’s taking place in our City,” concluded Guinasso.
Following the councillors’ comments, the Subcommittee voted unanimously to support the Mayor’s appointments of Zachary Bisconti and Nathalie Pardo to the Conservation Commission.