The mayor’s reappointment of Erik Lowe, chairman of the Municipal Utilities Authority, to another term was postponed by the city council Tuesday evening until the city can be certain the agency will not be dissolved by the state.
Council members questioned the sensibleness of the reappointment after the state’s Department of Community Affairs, the agency that oversees the city’s finances, in a memorandum of understanding demanded the city dissolve the authority.
William McKoy, 3rd Ward councilman, stated that it makes no sense to reappoint Lowe to a new term when the agency’s existence is uncertain.
Charles Thomas, the city’s business administration, during a separate interview stated that he has asked the state to forgo dissolving the agency. When asked where the issue stands, the business administrator said the state agency is holding off until the new administration comes to power in July.
“I think this is not really germane right now,” said McKoy of the confirmation request. McKoy said the city has to conclude the issue with the state prior to making the reappointment.
Lowe was appointed to the authority by Jose “Joey” Torres, two-term mayor, who recently won a third term, in 2009. Lowe’s term expired on January 31st, 2014. Jeffery Jones, the city’s mayor, reappointed the chairman to a five year term ending in 2019, but the council refused to confirm the appointment.
Council members brought up the controversial India trip and demanded a report prior to moving on the confirmation.
Last summer, the authority approved $4,156 to fund the purchase of two plane tickets for Lowe and Jones for an excursion to southwest India. Subsequently, the administration submitted an India trip report to the council, detailing each venue the two men visited.
“It’s a five year reappointment,” said Andre Sayegh, 6th Ward councilman and council president. “It may not exist.”