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Sundquist Is Shaking Things Up With BPU Board Appointments

For the first time in recent memory, the president of the Jamestown City Council will not serve on the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities’ board.

Mayor Eddie Sundquist, in his list of appointments, has named Grant Olson, R-Ward 5, as the City Council representative in place of Maria Jones, a Democrat who was not reelected in November. Marie Carrubba, D-Ward 4 and former council president, was reappointed to the BPU board.

It is surprising that Dolce wasn’t appointed to the BPU board, especially since it was known in mid-December that Dolce was going to be the City Council’s president in January. We note, too, that former Mayor Sam Teresi appointed Dr. Lillian Vitanza Ney to the BPU board when Ney was elected council president in the mid-2000s.

There is nothing in the Jamestown City Charter that requires the council president be on the BPU board. It is simply the past practice of previous mayors, including at least one instance when the council president and mayor were of different political parties. Sundquist did choose Olson, a Republican, to fill the Jones’ position.

There are two clearly visible signs apparent in Sundquist’s choice of Olson over Dolce for the BPU board. First, Sundquist doesn’t feel bound by past convention or practice. Olson’s appointment is a sign that Sundquist will make decisions based on what he thinks is best, not based on what has always been done. There are a good many city residents, we’re sure, who voted for Sundquist because they wanted to see past practices shaken up and who are encouraged by Sundquist’s choice.

Second, choosing Olson is a clear sign Sundquist wants to change the BPU’s direction. Gregory Anderson comes with an industrial background. Lana Huston is a lawyer who specializes in estate planning and business transactions. Olson ran a fresh campaign and has said repeatedly that he comes into office with few preconceived notions and a desire to hear all sides of an issue before making a decision. Dolce, given his lengthy history on the council and, in particular, as a proponent of annexing the Dow Street substation in Falconer, is tied for better or for worse, to the past 30 years of decisions in the city.

Choosing Olson over Dolce for the BPU board is the clearest signal yet that Sundquist and his choices for the BPU board will seek to take the city’s municipal utility in a different direction than it has taken in the past.

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