April 23, 2014 - The Crestwood Board of Aldermen voted 7-0 last week to approve Mayor Jeff Schlink's appointment of former Alderman Michael Vincent to the Ward 4 aldermanic seat vacated by Dan Tennessen, who resigned in February.
Schlink's appointment of Vincent, who served as a Ward 4 alderman from 1990 to 1994, was approved during a special meeting on April 16. Schlink was defeated in his re-election bid in the April 8 election by former Ward 3 Alderman Gregg Roby, who was scheduled to take the oath of office Tuesday night — after the Call went to press.
Schlink previously told the Call he planned to appoint Vincent to the vacant Ward 4 seat, and said he chose Vincent because of his extensive business and marketing experience in fundraising and capital campaigns.
"... My wife and I are pleased to be 40-year residents of our city of Crestwood. We've owned two homes here and I was privileged to serve the city for two terms as Ward 4 alderman, and you're sitting in my seat," Vincent said, joking with Ward 4 Alderman Mike Tsichlis.
Vincent recently retired after a 43-year career, including serving as director of principal gifts at Concordia University–Nebraska and as vice president of advancement at Concordia Seminary.
"I think if I had 10 bucks for every time a citizen has encouraged me to serve again or run for mayor — I scoff — I'd probably have enough money to buy the assembly dinner at Applebee's tonight," Vincent said. "I have not been active in elected community life, particularly for the last 10 years, because my last two positions have had me on the road significantly.
"I think I had very admirable attendance while an alderman, but there was no way with my past jobs for Concordia Nebraska and Concordia Seminary that I could have honestly said I'd have been up here every other week.
"Now that I'm retired, I was honored to be approached several weeks ago and would be honored to serve."
Vincent said he considered his tenure on the Board of Aldermen as successful.
"During the first time I ran and the second time I ran, I really only made three promises to the citizens," he said. "One, that I would listen loudly; that we'd get a new fire truck; and that I would serve only two terms and then step down. And I think I was a successful alderman."
As an alderman, Vincent served as the aldermanic liaison to the city's Sign Commission. He subsequently served two years as chairman of the Sign Commission.
Ward 1 Alderman Darryl Wallach asked Vincent, "... During that four years that you were in office, was there ever a vote before the board in regards to any TIFs or any type of tax-increment financing requests from any developers?"
Vincent replied, "... I'm smiling because right after I was sworn in to my first term, the very first evening ... we voted on the 66 Drive-In development, and during the two campaigns that I had run and then was elected, that was probably the hot topic of the day back then ...
"That first evening there was a vote to move forward and it included a TIF — and it passed and I supported it. I'll make a comment since I'm going to assume your question is more about my opinions in the future than the past ... As far as tax support and tax abatements, I will say candidly, as I did then, I am personally not a fan of tax abatement, but I do think in this economy and in the business climate in general, it's almost a foregone conclusion. So I would not make any decision tonight, but as some proposal would come forward and I expect it would, I'd base an opinion and a vote on the plan when it's seen and revealed and when it is realistic and doable. And when a full financial package — whatever that portrait would be — is out in the open to everyone."
Wallach later asked Vincent how he voted on Lindbergh Schools' Proposition G bond issue, which was approved by voters on April 8.
"... I'm not going to ask you how you voted and so forth, but my inquiry would be maybe the vote in regards to Prop G, which is the Lindbergh School District," Wallach said. "If you don't mind, could you elaborate as to whether you voted for that particular Prop G?"
After Vincent said, "... That's an interesting one," Schlink interjected.
"... You can ask the question. I don't know that it's appropriate to ask them how they voted on something ...," Schlink said.
Wallach said, "... The Lindbergh School District is a very big component to Crestwood ... I voted in favor of it because I think it's important for the city, along with our citizens for that, as well as for the future. And I guess that was my main reasoning for inquiring about you, and if you don't want to answer it, that's fine."
Vincent said, "I would respond that I share your interest and commitment to seeing the Lindbergh School District remain as strong as it is for the good of the kids and for the good of all our property values and the good name of the city. I guess maybe the best way to respond is that my wife and I had votes that canceled one another out."
During a period for public comment, Roby told the Board of Aldermen, "... I wanted to speak first here, if you don't mind, Mayor, because you and I did talk. I am fully in agreement with what you're doing. You've done everything by the Charter. Everything's totally aboveboard.
"I've had a number of calls today from people who were concerned about this, and I explained to them that I had a conversation with Mr. Vincent, which I did. I was very impressed with his credentials, with his demeanor and with his personality. I believe that he'll bring a great deal of experience to this board, and I'm excited to work with him.
"So I applaud you for your selection and, again, I have no problems with the way this was handled," Roby added.
Schlink said, "I appreciate you speaking. I appreciate you speaking first."
However, resident Jennifer Zink told the Board of Aldermen that she believed Timothy Anderson and Cindy Minor, who ran unsuccessfully for the Ward 4 aldermanic seat in 2013 when Tsichlis was elected, should have been considered by Schlink.
To Vincent, she said, "... Sir, you might be honorable. I don't have the pleasure of knowing you — and that's my point. I am (a) Ward 4 (resident). My husband was Cindy Minor's campaign manager ... Did you ask Tim or Cindy if they were interested, since we did vote for them ..."
Schlink noted that he did speak with Anderson "and Mr. Vincent is the one that's being nominated."
Minor "expressed no interest to me in the position," Schlink added.