Bloomington city council jammed up on issue of traffic commissioner’s ouster, still no vote taken

An expected up-down vote on the question of Greg Alexander’s removal from Bloomington’s traffic commission did not take place at Wednesday night’s city council meeting.

The motion for Alexander’s removal—because of Tweets he posted late last year—had been postponed from the council’s March 29 meeting. That postponement had unanimous support from the council, in order to give Alexander at least five business days to respond in writing to the specific reasons listed out in the motion.

On Wednesday, councilmember Dave Rollo wound up withdrawing his motion to remove Alexander.

Since Jan. 18, when the council reappointed Alexander to the traffic commission, Rollo has now made three different motions on Alexander’s removal—and withdrawn each one.

Rollo’s March 29 motion on Alexander’s removal, got a written response from Alexander.

Alexander also appeared at Wednesday’s council meeting, and from the public mic responded to the motion during general public commentary time.

But when the council reached the “Appointments To Boards And Commissions” section on the agenda, when the postponed motion would have been considered, the council did not again take up the question of Alexander’s removal.

At that time, the council did take up a motion—also postponed from March 29—for removal of a member of the environmental commission, based on non-attendance. The vote on the environmental commissioner’s removal was unanimous.

When council president Sue Sgambelluri asked if there was any other business under that section of the agenda, she got no response. So Sgambelluri moved on to the next section—legislation for second reading.

Councilmember Steve Volan leaned back in his chair with outstretched arms,  and upturned palms, indicating puzzlement that the motion on Alexander’s removal had not been taken up.

But Volan did not exercise the right of any councilmember under Robert’s Rules, to demand that the postponed question be taken up—given Sgambelluri’s failure to state the question at the correct point in the meeting.

From the public mic at the end of the meeting, The B Square asked what the status of the postponed motion on Alexander’s removal was—given that it had not been properly stated at the meeting, and given that no councilmember had raised an objection.

Volan reacted to The B Square’s question by directing a question to Rollo: “I’d like to ask my colleague if he would withdraw the motion.”

Rollo answered: “Yes, I will withdraw the motion.” Volan followed up: “Does Mr. Rollo intend to bring back the motion? Or can we retire it with prejudice?”

In response to that question Rollo didn’t answer, saying, “I think we’re at the end of our meeting.”

After the meeting, Rollo responded to a question from The B Square about his intentions for bringing back the same or another motion on Alexander’s removal: “It’s under consideration right now.” About his answer to Volan’s question, Rollo added, “I was ambiguous about reintroducing it.”

Rollo acknowledged to The B Square after the meeting: “It’s been a long time.”

The saga began on Jan. 18 when the council considered a slate of appointments to various boards and commissions, including Alexander’s reappointment to the traffic commission. Rollo voted no, and Susan Sandberg abstained.

The two councilmembers who didn’t support his reappointment were aware of Alexander’s Tweets late last year, which were posted after the council approved the installation of a stop sign at Maxwell Lane and Sheridan Drive. One of them read: “haters gonna hate and bloomington democrats gonna lick the shit out from between elm heights’ neighbors ass cheeks”

On Feb. 1 Rollo made a motion to remove Alexander. That motion was referred to a council committee on processes, which met three times and made a recommendation for how to move forward.

The committee’s recommendation, delivered on March 1, was for Rollo to withdraw his original motion and, if he wanted to pursue it, to put forward a second, more-precisely worded motion. Rollo made a second, more-precisely worded motion at the council’s March 1 meeting, but wound up withdrawing it at the same meeting.

Rollo’s third motion was made on March 29, which was postponed until this Wednesday (April 12).

Positions on the traffic commission are unpaid. The city’s traffic commission is an advisory board that, among other things, recommends to the city council and other city officials ways to improve traffic conditions and the enforcement of traffic regulations.

A key idea in Rollo’s now-withdrawn third motion is that because of the Tweets he posted, Alexander could not fulfill the duties of a traffic commissioner, which include “to receive complaints having to do with traffic matters, and to recommend to the common council and to appropriate city officials ways and means for improving traffic conditions and the administration and enforcement of traffic regulations.”

During his remarks from the public mic at Wednesday’s council meeting, Alexander challenged the idea that he could not receive traffic complaints, recounting a situation he became aware of from a newspaper article in 2019—before he was serving on the traffic commission. A man had been arrested for walking in the street on Bloomfield Road. Alexander said he knew the sidewalk was closed on both sides of the street and the man had no choice but to walk in the road.

Alexander said he’d treated the newspaper account as a complaint he’d received, then tracked down the maintenance of traffic plan for the project, written a critical report to the city staff, and delivered a speech to the city council about it, portraying the situation as a “correctable systemic injustice.”

Alexander told the council on Wednesday, “I do an incredible job of receiving complaints and acting on them. I’m superlative at it. I’m dedicated to it every moment I’m outside.”

Alexander said, “For councilmember Rollo to say, in his many words, that I’m unable to perform that duty, is personally insulting and absurdly counterfactual.”

8 thoughts on “Bloomington city council jammed up on issue of traffic commissioner’s ouster, still no vote taken

  1. i have perfect respect for the right of the council to decide not to re-appoint me. and i don’t really have any concrete objection to the idea that they might decide to remove me after a re-appointment. i’m not a politician but they are. if they don’t like the optics of my conduct, they can make any arbitrary political decision they feel necessary for their careers.

    but to have this process culminate in a rug pull followed by an indefinite threat is crossing a line. he is willfully wasting my time, and the time of his colleagues on the council. this is bad faith action that is nothing but destructive. it reflects a personal vendetta against me and a willingness to play dirty simply to harm me. i cannot imagine a more disrespectful process. i condemn Cm Rollo’s conduct unequivocally. he is behaving like a bad person.

  2. This really sounds like a vendetta on the part of Rollo. Certainly there are more important things for him to focus on over more than 3 months

  3. No need to speculate. CM Rollo represents many people who were the object of Mr. Alexander’s scorn. Rollo is responding to their concerns. Attend his constituent meeting tomorrow and you are likely to hear all about it (although I know one affected individual is unlikely to be present).

    It is fitting that Alexander used as an example of a ‘complaint’ a news report that was not presented to him personally. He has intimidated so many people that that may be the only sort he has the opportunity to respond to.

    1. i … wow … do you mind if i ignore your accusation against me, and ask you a question instead?

      i guess i’ve got to give a little background about this complaint i heard:

      this guy (“27-year-old man”) was walking along 2nd St / Bloomfield Rd, approaching Patterson Dr. he was drunk (“preliminary charge of public intoxication”) at 7pm on a Sunday evening in late June. he encountered a sign that said, “SIDEWALK CLOSED USE OTHER SIDE”. i can’t tell you what he did after that, but if he did cross the street in an orderly fashion, he would have found construction barricades (or an open pit) there as well. reading between the lines, i think he was impoverished. i think he felt like the city was trying to kill him. i think he saw the city expressing an overt disdain for the safety of impoverished people who live on the south-west corner of the city, as if he was being asked to die in traffic as an expression of class violence. i think he took it personally. i think he lost his temper. i think any chance of him having an uneventful walk home was ruined by the impossible guidance our city’s engineering staff had created for him. i think he was filled with rage and began acting irrationally in response to this clear harm done against him.

      anyways, i don’t really know anything about him. the police beat doesn’t even give his name. i just know he was arrested for “jumping into traffic” at a place where a lot of impoverished people walk and bike for transportation. i know that whether due to poverty or good judgement, he was not driving drunk. and i do know that the sidewalk on both sides of the street was closed, and that it’s an excruciatingly dangerous location to walk in the street.

      do you think the world is a better place because his complaint received attention?


    2. Sounds like teenage girls fighting each other. He’s a council member and rather than spend 3 months making and withdrawing motions, he needs to focus on council business. Instead he makes this personal.

  4. This is what happens when the same double stupid liberal morons who abused their power to enforce face diapers that still time to spend at least $15 million dollars of COVID funds from the Federal Government. Then they used another $7 million dollars to design and build the Bike,Buses and Pedestrian 7th Street cluster hump.

    1. I doubt that you understand the meaning of the word “liberal.” A liberal is a person who supports Liberalism. An opposite of a liberal is an authoritarian. Another opposite is a person who prefers ignorance and shouts insults in the public square about things that they don’t understand.

  5. I do not know CM Rollo personally. I only know him through interactions in City Council and what I read in the press and social media. My experience with him is that he is high-handed and arrogant, but prefers to project an image of rising above it all.

    The way he handled the GNP deer problem was a disgrace. Here is my PowerPoint on that.!AmWVEpGpV6HFvosCMMc0AGWOeAv9xA?e=uSVPML

    I don’t like the way Mr. Alexander behaved either. But at least he is sincere.

Comments are closed.