City Hall Insider …9/21/12

What is our City Council up to these days? We have the highlights of the latest council meeting.

By Charles Sercombe

We pick up this week in the second part of the city council meeting held on Sept. 11. Only Council Mayor Pro Tem Abdul Algazali was absent.

A discussion was held on a proposal to have Community & Economic Development Director Jason Friedmann take steps to either remove or repair a street art mural that was vandalized by someone who splattered paint on it.

The mural has been the center of controversy for several weeks because some residents find the image of a coffin being carried by six cartoon characters offensive.

Councilmember Robert Zwolak said he is concerned that no one involved city council in the decision on allowing a mural to be painted on a city-owned building.

“It’s disrespectful to not get council-city input,” Zwolak said. “That’s my primary objection.”

Councilmember Tom Jankowski said he’s not going to vote to remove the mural “just to prove a point that Mr. Friedmann should have come to the council first.”

(Editor’s note: Friedmann was the city’s point person in coordinating the creation of several public murals during the summer.)

Councilmember Cathie Gordon said the city has to do something with the mural because it is “offensive” to the artist to leave it vandalized.

Councilmember Anam Miah said he has talked with people in the area near the mural (which is located on the side of a loft project at Jos. Campau and Goodson). He said the mural is “not best suited” for those living in the area.

Mayor Karen Majewski said even if the mural was on private property she thinks the council would still be discussing it.

In the vote to direct Friedmann to have the mural either removed or repaired, the council unanimously agreed.

The council voted to meet in closed session to discuss how much to pay Acting City Manager Kyle Tertzag.

After the closed meeting, the council agreed to pay Tertzag $6,750 a month plus health insurance.

From the public, Mickey Pokoj said there are six-foot weeds growing on Faber St.

He also said that the new charter school on Caniff has an overflowing garbage dumpster.

Under the section of non-agenda items, Councilmember Gordon questioned why there were only 59 property code tickets issued in July when previously the monthly average was 80 to 100.

“What is going on?” she said.

Gordon also said she wants to hold off filling a vacant position in the Treasury Office. She suggested combining the role of Treasurer with the position of City Clerk.

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