With the statewide and City Council primary just over a month away, we are in what many people refer to as “the crazy season.”
Issues are brought up that in a normal year would fly under the radar but, because of the election, become news, and mayoral candidate Eric Robert – in an email to Mayor Nancy Vaughan, and copied to large number of people – raised just such an issue.
Vaughan is running for reelection and, along with Robert, District 3 City Councilmember Justin Outling and Mark Timothy Cummings, will be on the May 17 mayoral primary ballot.
Robert, in the email to Vaughan, claims that Andy Zimmerman’s term on the Downtown Greensboro Incorporated (DGI) board of directors has expired and he should no longer be allowed to serve.
Robert states in previous emails on the same issue that the state statute governing Business Improvement Districts (BID) such as DGI sets a six-year limit for serving on the BID board of directors.
The state statute doesn’t set a limit, but the DGI bylaws do set a six-year limit, with the caveat that if a board member is serving as an executive officer they can serve an additional three-year term. Zimmerman, who was appointed to the DGI board in 2015, is on the executive board, which means according to the bylaws he is eligible to serve until 2024.
Zimmerman is also an appointment of the Greensboro City Council to the DGI board and is eligible to serve until a replacement is appointed. It is a common practice for the City Council to make allowances for officers on a board to serve longer than the six-year limit that exists for most boards and commissions.
Robert also accuses DGI President and CEO Zack Matheny and DGI board Chair Tracy Myers of “falsifying” the record of Zimmerman’s appointment to the DGI board. In a response to a request from Robert, Myers listed Zimmerman’s appointment date as Jan. 1, 2017, while Robert, relying on articles in the Triad Business Journal and the News & Record, said Zimmerman was appointed in May 2015, which is correct.
In an email to Vaughan and the eight members of the City Council regarding the error made in Zimmerman’s appointment date, Robert states, “This is very serious issue as I contend that a law was broken and reports falsified to allow a DGI board member to remain on the board passed it [sic] tenure.”
Robert, in the email to Vaughan, asked that Myers be removed as chair and Matheny as president for making this error on the appointment date of a board member.
Both Myers and Matheny acknowledged that there was an error in the appointment date of Zimmerman in a chart of the appointment dates of DGI board members that was sent to Robert. Myers, in an email to Robert, notes that under the bylaws Zimmerman is still eligible to serve on the DGI board despite the error in listing his appointment date.
It is worth noting that John Lomax was also appointed to the DGI board in May 2015 and Robert in these emails has not challenged his right to continue to serve.