At its meeting on Wednesday night, the Ithaca Common Council approved the appointments of Mark Darling and Jeanne Leccese to the City’s Board of Public Works. They will replace Wade Wykstra and David Warden, respectively.
Wykstra, a six-year veteran of the board, suggested that politics following the mayoral election may have played a role in Mayor Svante Myrick’s ’09 decision to replace the members.
Wykstra ran as an independent candidate against Myrick — who was responsible for choosing Wykstra’s replacement — in November’s mayoral election. In addition, Warden endorsed Wykstra.
“I find it interesting that [Warden] supported me in the mayoral race and now he gets replaced on the Board of Public Works,” he said. “I don’t know that that has anything to do with it, but if there was better communication, maybe we’d know.
Wykstra also said a lack of communicatoin between himself and Myrick may have caused the confusion over his reappointment.
“The usual tradition is commissioners are approached in November [or] December and they’re asked if they wish to serve another term or not, or they’re told that they’re being replaced,” Wykstra said. “There was no communication. So I kind of objected to that.”
Myrick could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Wykstra said there was confusion between himself and Myrick regarding his desire to seek another term on the Board. Wykstra claimed he ran into Myrick at the Ithaca Farmers’ Market in November, at which time Myrick said he had heard that Wykstra didn’t want to serve on the Board for another term.
Wykstra confirmed that under Mayor Carolyn Peterson, he did not want to serve again.
“Mayor Peterson essentially wanted to abolish the Board of Public Works, so there was a fair amount of contention,” Wykstra said. “I had heard that she was not going to reappoint me and so what I said was that I would not swear in for another term.”
However, he agreed to continue serving on the Board until he was replaced.
“In December I emailed [Myrick] saying I’d like to talk about [the Board of Public Works] and my service on the Special Joint Committee, but I didn’t hear back,” Wykstra said.
On Dec. 28, Myrick informed Wykstra that he would be replaced. Myrick did not name a successor, so Wykstra served through the month of January, Wykstra said.
“[Warden] also emailed the mayor back in December but didn’t hear back until a week or two ago,” Wykstra said. “When he did hear back, it was to inform him he was being replaced.”
Wykstra suggested that politics during the mayoral election may have played a role in Myrick’s decision.
“I find it interesting that [Warden] supported me in the mayoral race and now he gets replaced on the Board of Public Works,” he said. “I don’t know that that has anything to do with it, but if there was better communication, maybe we’d know.”
Wykstra, however, stressed that the situation is not as dramatic as has been portrayed by others.
“[Myrick is] a new mayor and a young mayor and he’s just starting out his term,” Wykstra said. “So maybe he doesn’t understand yet that you need to communicate with people a little better than that.”
Original Author: Rebecca Friedman