Biskupski said after Tuesday’s interview that the majority of council members seemed to have made up their minds before Tuesday’s work session, though all but one met with him privately.
“I certainly took note of what was being said,” Biskupski said. “They feel like the person they want on this board is a user of transit and not a changemaker.”
Council members have said Dabakis lacks appropriate transit experience and wondered about the wisdom of nominating a board member before having a more robust discussion with the council about transit goals. Councilman Derek Kitchen said Tuesday that the city was still without a transportation director after the departure of Robin Hutcheson a year ago.
Still, council members were careful to be kind to the popular former Utah Democratic Party chairman. Councilwoman Erin Mendenhall distilled the prevailing sentiment when she said constituent comments about the nomination had all begun with “Now, I love Jim.”
“I want to start there, too,” she said.
She added later: “The disappointment for me today is that you’ve painted this binary picture of either we agree with you that the UTA needs reformation, or we don’t agree that the UTA needs reformation, and in that case, we would vote against you.”
Council members said they concurred that UTA, mired in $2 billion debt and accused of sweetheart dealmaking amid a federal probe into its past actions, faces challenges and needs to change. But they didn’t agree that Dabakis was the best person to bring that change about.
The administration had cited overwhelmingly positive feedback to the nomination of Dabakis, billed as a watchdog…
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