Council to discuss mural oversight, protest planned

Mural at Kirk Douglas Park. Photo by Tim Becker.

Fourth Ward Alderwoman Diane Hatzenbuhler says she wants the Common Council to consider a resolution at today’s committee meeting that would prohibit any city employee from painting a mural on any city owned property unless the council gives their consent first. Hatzenbuhler said on Wednesday she was surprised recently to have seen bills totaling $1000 to repaint a mural at Kirk Douglas park, which was originally done by volunteers and wants to see a greater level of accountability.

“I’m just looking at what it’s going to cost us every two or three years to have these murals redone,” said Hatzenbuhler.

Hatzenbuhler also said she wants to discuss the revenue and expenses of the Creative Connections Arts Center.

Mayor Ann Thane said on Wednesday that the mural at Kirk Douglas park was repainted by the Recreation Department without her knowledge, but supported the action and said the expense was within the existing budget for the department. Thane posted on her blog last Friday the text of an email conversation between Corporation Counsel Gerard DeCusatis and City Clerk Susan Alibozek, with DeCusatis’ response being forwarded to the mayor and common council.

According to Thane’s blog post, the draft of the proposed resolution reads:

WHEREAS, in the past City-owned property has been removed, used, painted etc. without the knowledge or consent of the Common Council.

RESOLVED, no city employee shall use, remove, paint, deface any City-owned property without the written knowledge and consent of the Common Council.

DeCusatis’ response to the city clerk’s request for advice on how to word the resolution:

The requested resolution appears to be an attempt to direct city employees in their day to day actions. The direction of city employees is an executive power belonging to the mayor. This power cannot be changed by a resolution. A charter amendment would be required and such an amendment would be subject to a mandatory referendum.

A group of area residents are planning a “peaceful protest” at City Hall at 6:00pm. The description for the event on Facebook reads:

The people of amsterdam need to take a stand and let the common council know they can’t sit idly by and let alderwomen [sic] Diane [Hatzenbuhler] Destroy any more of our city with her frivolous resolutions…nows the time to make a stance and make it known to the common council that we the people have had enough!

Tonight’s committee meetings are scheduled to start at 6:00pm at City Hall with the Common Council meeting starting at 7:00pm.

Tim Becker

Tim Becker is the owner of Anthem Websites Inc. which publishes The Compass. He serves as both editor and a writer.