GALVESTON — The changes wrought by Saturday’s election will not be contained by the City Council — its effects will ripple to other city boards and commissions.
The council will likely not make ex-oficio appointments to city boards until after a June 21 runoff election is held to determine the District 1 council member. But the results of the election will have definite effects on a small number of boards where new council members currently serve or where ousted council members have voting positions.
Today, the Park Board of Trustees is expected to elect a new chairman and vice chairman. The board’s current chairman, Craig Brown, was elected Saturday to the District 2 seat on the City Council.
Brown has served on the park board since 2009 and was reappointed to the board last fall.
“I enjoyed immensely my time with the park board,” Brown said. “I wish the new chairman and vice chairman the best, and anything I can do to be of assistance, I’ll always be available.”
Brown would not say Monday whether he was interested in returning to the board as the council’s representative, a position held by District 6 Councilwoman Marie Robb, who lost her bid for re-election to Carolyn Sunseri.
As chairman of the park board, Brown is also a member of a number of different organizations, including the Galveston Island Convention Center Management Committee, the Moody Gardens Foundation board and the Cavalla Foundation board. Those positions also will be passed on to the next park board chairman today.
Elsewhere in the city, Mayor-elect Jim Yarbrough will likely be tasked with making appointments to the Galveston Housing Authority. The terms of board Chairman Irwin “Buddy” Herz, Vice Chairman Tony Brown and Commissioner Ann Masel all expire June 30.
Unlike other city boards and commissions, the housing authority’s board is appointed solely by the mayor.
“I haven’t given a whole lot of thought to it,” Yarbrough said. “My thought is that if the incumbents that are there would like to continue to serve, I would be inclined that they should continue to serve.”
Herz said Monday he would serve at “ the discretion of the mayor” but acknowledged he felt there was still some work left unfinished for the housing authority — specifically finding financing for and beginning construction of the city’s two mixed-income housing developments.
In 2012, appointments to the housing authority became a heated topic at City Hall when Mayor Lewis Rosen called for the authority’s acting chairwoman, Betty Massey, to resign, and appointed the three commissioners who he said would be inclined to put a stop to the existing plans for public housing.
Yarbrough called the housing authority a “complex environment” and said he would be hesitant to replace people who have a clear grasp of the issues. He acknowledged the circumstances of their appointments but said he did not think the housing authority was working against the city’s mixed-income housing developments any more.
“I think it’s become a reality that the local housing authority board is not going to stop the two mixed-income sites,” Yarbrough said. “I think they’ve accepted that.”
Apart from Brown, none of the other newly incoming council members — Yarbrough, Sunseri or Ralph McMorris — are serving on any city boards. Before the election, Sunseri resigned her position on the city’s Zoning Board of Adjustment but resigned after announcing her intentions to join the council race.
The other city board that will face drastic changes is the Industrial Development Corp., which oversees spending of the city’s 4B sales tax funds. The board has four positions that must be filled by City Council members. Three of those spots are held by Rosen, Robb and Councilwoman Elizabeth Beeton.
While the positions are designated specifically for the mayor and council members, Yarbrough said he would explore the possibility of making appointments to the organization instead.
“I like to see less council people on there and more real-world people,” Yarbrough said. “Hopefully, we can get some fresh blood and some new people.”