Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner's proposal to hire an aide does not appear to have solid majority support among aldermen.
Renner said city growth has brought more responsibility than previous mayors had, and he can't complete every task he would like to do. Renner said the mayoral aide would benefit the whole council.
“Unfortunately, I don't think the council quite understood how much that position would have helped me. And that's one of the reasons I put out a list of if this doesn’t pass, these are the assignments I would like you to perform. I can't force you to. But I can give a report every month to say who didn't do what they (should)," said Renner.
Renner said a mayoral aide would act as a liaison during community events and help apply for grants. He said the aide would make approximately $51,000 annually.
Aldermen Scott Black and Amelia Buragas said they are receptive to the idea. Aldermen Joni Painter, Jamie Mathy, David Sage, and Mboka Mwilambwe opposed the idea. Council members Karen Schmidt, Kim Bray and Diana Hauman did not express an opinion during the Monday meeting.
Sister Cities Trip
A recent Sister Cities trip to Japan also came up during the meeting. Several members of the public commented on the issue, and Renner went against convention and responded directly during the meeting.
Donna Bolan accused Renner of using taxpayer dollars to inappropriately fund a Sister Cities trip to Japan.
Renner said people like Bolan just come to berate the council over subjects they have no knowledge of.
Renner said he's not in control of the city's purchasing card (P-card), which is essentially a government body's credit card. He says all dollars put toward travel were legal.
“I actually gave this to the city administration to book all my flights. I never even used the P-card,” said Renner.
Bolan had accused Renner of spending money on travel expenses for people who didn't need to go.
WGLT depends on financial support from users to bring you stories and interviews like this one. As someone who values experienced, knowledgeable, and award-winning journalists covering meaningful stories in central Illinois, please consider making a contribution.