After keeping the city’s economic development director in limbo for 20 months, city councilors Tuesday approved his reappointment by a 4-3 vote.
Jonathan Rosenthal, who is the executive director of the Bristol Development Authority, smiled broadly but declined to say anything after the vote.
“It was in the best interest of the city of Bristol,” Mayor Art Ward.
City Councilor Frank Nicastro, a former mayor who appointed Rosenthal 14 years ago, said that “it was wrong to get bogged down” with a long fight about the reappointment.
“The city has to move forward,” Nicastro said.
Rosenthal’s detractors had plenty to say at the council session, especially two members of the Bugryn family that lost its homes when Rosenthal pushed for the use of eminent domain to take their land for an industrial park.
Michael Dudko, one of the family members who had to move out, called Rosenthal “a rogue bureaucrat” who had acted unethically in pursuing the ouster of his family from their Middle Street property.
Ed Dudko, his brother, said that Rosenthal is not worth his $94,000-a-year salary. He said it was time for the Easton resident to go.
But the council, which tabled Rosenthal’s reappointment last month, opted this time around to back him.
Though neither Councilor Cliff Block nor Councilor Craig Minor would explain their decision to support Rosenthal, they each said that questions they’d had have been answered to their satisfaction.
It appears that a report issued last week about the real estate contract given by Rosenthal and the city to Realtor Ken Johnson to help the Bugryns in 2002 and 2003 made the difference. The report essentially cleared Rosenthal of doing anything wrong.
One councilor who voted no, city Councilor Kevin McCauley, called the probe by Personnel Director Diane Ferguson “a lackluster investigation that I felt was incomplete.”
Two Republican councilors, Mike Rimcoski and Ken Cockayne, also voted against Rosenthal. They did not offer an explanation.
Rosenthal’s reappointment was held up by former Mayor William Stortz since April 2006. Stortz did not seek Rosenthal’s removal and he did not ask the council to vote on reappointment.
He simply did nothing, despite constant complaints from then-councilor Ward to take action one way or the other.
Ward, after his election as mayor, asked the council to reappoint Rosenthal. But it was tabled pending the completion of the report by Ferguson.
Nicastro said that he’s confident Rosenthal will do well.
He said that Ward “will make sure Jonathan is doing his job to the fullest.”
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
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