Sunday, February 21, 2021

After a testy debate in Nashville, vice-mayor says next Fair Board nominee will be a person of "diverse background" "no matter what."

Qualifications to take a back seat to "diversity."

Vice mayor
Jim Shulman
Nashville Outlook -
Nashville Metro Vice-Mayor Jim Shulman committed to selecting a “person of diversity” to sit on the Metro Fair Board following a heated Metro City Council meeting February 16th.

During Monday night’s meeting councilmembers considered two appointees to the Hospital Authority board, including Pastor Frank Stevenson and St. Thomas COO Michelle Robertson. Robertson was initially selected for nomination by Nashville Major John Cooper, but after several deferrals by the council her nomination would have been automatic without a vote, according to Shulman and Metro Council policy. Vice-Mayor Shulman said he knew councilmembers had questions and concerns about her appointment, so he asked the mayor to withdraw, then made the nomination himself so the council could take a vote and have a discussion. After about two hours of heated debate, Robertson’s nomination to the board passed by 21 votes, the bare minimum.
Shulman said there are currently three options for Fair Board nominees; he could nominate the mayor’s pick, his own pick, or the pick submitted via letter by the Minority Caucus. He has not made a determination yet but expects to soon, and has committed to choosing a person of “diverse background” no matter what. He said learning the Fair Board is all-white was concerning, and said he listened closely to the debate over Robertson’s nomination. 
Stand Up Nashville is working to make sure all Metro boards are increasingly diverse, and not just in ethnicity or race. Executive Director Odessa Kelly said the organization wants more socioeconomic and LGBTQ representation, too. (read more)

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