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All's quiet with Riverdale appointments

By Justin Boron

The Riverdale City Council and mayor cruised through the annual appointments Monday night, avoiding the vocal dispute and contention they faced during last year's approval of several city administration positions.

The meeting drew a small crowd despite expectations that caused the city to use police for security detail.

But it wasn't all peace and quiet. The council demonstrated its division on the vote for the city clerk and city attorney positions.

It voted twice on the selection of a law firm. The reappointment of its current city attorney Veronica Jones failed after council member Rick Scoggins, council member Kenny Ruffin and Mayor Phaedra Graham voted against it.

Instead, they voted for Cruiser & Mitchell, with council members Wanda Wallace and Michelle Bruce opposed.

"(The old) firm we can no longer afford," Scoggins said, citing legal fees for the year in excess of $300,000.

On the issue of the reappointment of city clerk, Wallace and Bruce voted against Sandra Meyers.

But Meyers was eventually re-confirmed through Graham's, Scoggins' and Ruffin's votes.

Bruce said she voted against Meyers because there were questionable conflicts of interest between her and the city's new attorney, who she opposed for the same reasons.

Graham led the meeting for the first time since October, according to attendance records taken from City Council minutes.

At the meeting's close, she demanded a positive approach from citizens and council members.

"If you can't say anything positive ... don't say anything at all," Graham said.

She also announced that she would start two new programs - one for charity and one for the city's senior citizens. The senior citizen program, Graham said, would be called M.O.B. or Mayor's Older Buddies.

At least two council members were skeptical.

Bruce and Scoggins said they had heard the same kind of promises from her last year.