Curbing the DDA
Asked why, the Ward Three councilmember answers with a question of his own: "Why did mayor John Hieftje create a DDA so distrusted that Steve Kunselman would punch them?"
Always complicated, the relationship between city council and the quasi-independent authority intensified as Mayor Hieftje's council majority shrank in recent elections. Once an outsider, Kunselman now shares his doubts about the DDA with a growing group of allies--Mike Anglin, Jack Eaton, Sally Hart Peterson, Jane Lumm and, especially Sumi Kailasapathy.
"The members of the DDA board are in custody of [an annual budget of] over 20 million dollars," Kailasapathy emails. "Yet, they are never elected, continue their positions for decades and function as a shadow government."
According to Kunselman, "the relationship between the DDA and council deteriorated because John Hieftje serves on both the board of the DDA and city council. He's appointed former elected officials to the board, and they have nothing to do other than please John Hieftje."