(Lander, Wyo.) – Earlier this month, the Lander City Council tabled a vote on the make-up of a 1 percent sale tax project committee after Councilor Cade Maestas raised concerns. On Tuesday of this week, the council debated the matter further but no formal motion was made to finalize who would be on the committee.
On the recommended committee list, put together by city staff, are Sollie Cadman, Wade Alexander, Mike Quinn, Del McOmie, and Jerry Heckart. Councilor Dick Hudson would serve as the council’s liaison. Additionally, Public Works Director Mickey Simmons and Streets Supervisor Mitch LeClair are to be part of the committee as well.
“It didn’t seem very diverse,” Maestas said, noting many had City of Lander governmental connections. Cadman is the former Weed & Pest Supervisor who ran for the city council last year. McOmie and Heckart are former mayors. He was concerned that there might not be a wide range of thinking among the group.
Maestas was also concerned about the perception it could give to put Alexander, a contractor who could potentially bid on the projects, a seat on the committee.
“Avoid even the appearance of evil,” Maestas said. “He does know roads, but I’m not sure it’s worth the perception it causes.”
Mayor Mick Wolfe noted that the committee would only have a role in prioritizing projects from a master list city staff have already put together. He said Alexander would have no advantage over any other contractor because the committee would do no planning or designing of projects.
In an email to the council and others earlier this month, Maestas had said Quinn was the only “regular citizen” selected for the committee. McOmie this week took exception to the state, saying “Your email ticked me off.” He wondered if because he had a past connection to the city that he was now considered a second-class citizen.
Community Resource Coordinator Gary Michaud, who helped put the committee together after the city put public calls for volunteers out in January, said that it would also look bad if the council decided to start handpicking committee members. Michaud said all of the proposed committee volunteered to participate.
Maestas said if the council wanted to approve the committee as is, he would be fine with that and he was glad that it was discussed.
Michaud said two additional people had expressed a desire to join the committee since this discussion hit the public. Wolfe said he had no preference as to the size of the committee. The council will take a vote on the matter at a later date.