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Bookmeyer “regrettably” makes new appointee to Human Rights Commission

This news story was published on April 20, 2011.
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MASON CITY – Today Mayor Eric Bookmeyer moved to fill a vacancy on the Human Rights Commission, this time nominating Stephen Palmer of Mason City.

The commission did not approve one of his last appointments, Brian McNamara. McNamara instead became a “friend” of the commission.

Sandy Servantez

Sandy Servantez

The commission wants Sandy Servantez appointed, but the Mayor so far will not make that recommendation. Servantez addressed the City Council at last night’s council meeting on the issue, saying “I have had people approach me and questioned my integrity which is not acceptable. I would like to make it clear to the general public that I have done nothing immoral or illegal pertaining to the Mayor not appointing me.”

Read Bookmeyer’s email to the commission:

“Chairperson Loeckle and commissioners,

I sincerely regret that the Human Rights Commission did not “consent” to the mayoral appointment of Brian McNamara. He had the skills, experience and traits that should inhabit that commission. Most of all, he is a gentleman of the highest integrity with a willingness to serve Mason City . His “consent” should have been unanimous. It is not the Human Rights Commission’s job to recommend appointees, it is only their job to judge their integrity and if it is true, vote to “consent”.

From the start of this process, I have sought to strengthen the organization by broadening the skill sets of the commission with tenured managers with previous board or committee experience. The commission doesn’t just conduct fact-findings, it is also in charge of the department’s employees and activities. The department would benefit from an improved level of operational oversight, accountability and transparency as it progresses into the future.

Mr. McNamara embodied those qualities, as did newly appointed commission members, Ms. Huesman and Mr. Genth.

The commission’s lack of “consent” to someone of integrity weakens Mason City’s ability to attract talented individuals with a willingness to serve on boards or commissions, as they are concerned that their “good name” could be thrown around in “deals” or “political blackmail”. I will not have any part of it during any mayoral appointment process and there is no role here for the Human Rights Commission either.

However, as Mr. McNamara lacks “consent” I am regrettably forced to choose another appointee.

I am privileged that Stephen Palmer is willing to serve as a Human Rights Commissioner. He was a plant manager in the food processing industry for 15 years and a human resources manager for over 4 years. In addition, he has served on multiple boards including the Hancock County Hospital and the Elderbridge Agency on Aging, where he currently is the board chair.

At this point the commission has one job and that is to consider whether mayoral appointee Steve Palmer has the integrity to earn “consent” of the Human Rights Commission. His qualifications certainly should not be in question.

Best regards,

Eric Bookmeyer, Mayor

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