Tucker reappoints 2 board members, reopening diversity discussion

Tucker City Hall. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Tucker, GA — Despite concerns over the city’s process for appointing committee members and lack of racial and gender diversity on the six boards and commissions, two members of Tucker’s Urban Redevelopment Agency (URA) were reassigned to their current seats.  

Urban redevelopment agencies identify blighted properties to plan for areas of redevelopment. 

Councilmember Alexis Weaver said it’s potentially concerning “to have a limited number of people making decisions about our whole community, about what’s blighted and what’s not.” Weaver is pushing for an application process to gain a seat on boards and commissions in Tucker, as well as expanding the number of people on the URA. 

In Tucker, the mayor has the authority to choose commission members. Tucker City Council then votes to approve. 

“We don’t want to find ourselves talking about urban renewal without diverse representation,” she said.  

Tucker Communications Director Sonja Szubski said while urban redevelopment agencies assist cities, most of the critical decisions about redevelopment planning, public expenditure and real estate remain with the city governing authority.

Mayor Frank Auman presented a resolution on July 11 to reappoint Joe Kilpatrick and Ted Rhinehardt for a one-year term to URA. 

Joe Kilpatrick, a former member of the Downtown Development Authority, and Ted Rhinehardt, who has served on the URA since its inception in 2020, were reappointed. Kilpatrick took the place of Derik West, who was appointed to Planning Commission in 2021. 

Councilmember Cara Schroeder has served on the city’s Community Council, Planning Commission and volunteered extensively for Tucker parks. She recalled the process for her appointment, which included an application to the city. 

“I filled out an application opportunity to serve. I uploaded my resume and told you all that I love the city and I’m sitting here today. I was just curious: Do we need to be doing that every year for these appointees? We’re looking for new recruits. How should that work?” said Schroeder. 

Mayor Auman said at the beginning of cityhood there was a “really elaborate process because we were starting from scratch.” Since then, appointments have been made at the suggestion of the mayor or the district, Auman said. 

“I’ve talked to Tammy about creating more of a process where we can have a bigger pipeline of people … as things come up, they can be considered,” said Auman. “We need to have some form to the process.”

Councilmember Anne Lerner said she likes the idea of adding members to the URA.

“We have two very well qualified people brought before us who have served previously and have good experience. So I never want to deny a volunteer that opportunity. They’ve made themselves available, but perhaps we look to expand it by one or two more as we move forward,” said Lerner.  

City Council unanimously approved Kilpatrick and Rhinehardt as members of the URA.

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