Councilman Ben Hueso just told me he plans to re-nominate Rich Geisler to the board of directors of the Southeastern Economic Development Corp.
“I credit Rich and Cruz (Gonzalez) for posing some of the hard questions and taking a proactive approach in getting (SEDC President) Carolyn Smith to work in a new direction,” Hueso said. “I hope to keep Rich on the board for as long as possible,”
Geisler’s name was absent from a memo Councilman Tony Young sent mayor Jerry Sanders yesterday asking Sanders to consider keeping board members D. Cruz Gonzalez and Derryl Williams on the board.
Young said yesterday that he left Geisler off his memo because he did not originally nominate him for a position on the board. The councilman said he thinks Geisler has done a great job as a trustee for SEDC.
In recent months, Geisler has been one of the most ardent proponents of reform at the troubled agency. Last week, he proposed a motion in an SEDC board meeting that called for board Chairman Artie M. “Chip” Owen to stand down because of public perception of his relationship with a developer that has frequently won development deals with SEDC.
Sanders also announced yesterday that he plans to replace four of the nine board members on Sept. 2. Eight of SEDC’s board members have expired terms and the mayor had previously vowed to replace all eight. But the recent communications from Young and Hueso show a willingness within the City Council to extend the terms of at least three of the board members who have displayed a desire for reform at the agency.