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Feldkamp Not Backing Down From Liquor Commission

Michael Hill

Bloomington Liquor Commission Member Sue Feldkamp addressed the city council Monday night in an effort to encourage a five-member commission over a one-member commission and to refuse to resign from her post. Feldkamp said she was told she could serve as long as she wanted.

"If I step away from this position, the license-holders in the community will lose the opportunity to have a citizen listen and work with them," she said.

Mayor Tari Renner announced last week that the two members, Feldkamp and James Jordan, will no longer serve on the Liquor Commission as of October 1. Renner said, unlike other city commissions, Feldkamp doesn't have to resign to be removed from the position.

"They're appointed by the mayor, and they can be removed by the mayor," he said. "Not just me, [but] any mayor."

Renner said a recently-filed complaint of an Open Meetings Act violation, which stipulates that he can't meet with one of the two other members in private, motivated his decision to remove two members rather than adding two more members. He said he didn't want to validate the complaint.

"Until that's resolved, I wasn't going to continue with two," he said. "And I felt adding more would say okay I'm doing this to prove your point. I'm not going to do anything to prove somebody else's point."

Alderman Sage questioned Renner about the move. Sage said it would be the only Bloomington commission without private citizen input.

"Does that concern you?" Sage asked.

"Usually it doesn't, because we have no shortage of voices in the Liquor Commission in Public Comment, where people are coming forward," Renner replied.

However, Feldkamp disagrees. She said a five-member commission would be better.

"To represent the tavern, bar owners and the restaurants, you need to have more [members]," she said.

Feldkamp said mistakes have been made by other mayors serving as Liquor Commissioner in the past, and that there's too much at stake to remove the two commission members. 

"Deals can be made on the side, and we just need to make smart choices," she added.

Feldkamp has been asked to serve on the Planning Commission rather than the Liquor Commission. She said she's not sure what will happen with that appointment.

"I don't know if I'm going to wait and see what happens with the Liquor Commission," she said. "I'm not quite sure. I'm going to have to think things through."

Feldkamp said moving to the Planning Commission would be a political move rather than a move to serve the community.