“The appointment still stands,” he said after the vote.
The issue stemmed from the news Goldstein had joined the selection committee for a new director at the Welcome Center, the tourism arm for the city.
“He owns 75 percent of the Square,” City Councilman Grif Chalfant said before the meeting. “I think a lot of what is done through the Welcome Center is for the Square’s benefit. I don’t think he should be selecting the person over that.”
The controversy boiled over Wednesday when the council in a 4-3 vote deleted Goldstein’s appointment from the official record of the Jan. 9 city council meeting.
Chalfant said replacing current director Theresa Jenkins, who is leaving later this month, left the city council no choice.
“We can’t take him off the selection committee if he is on the board, but we can take him off the board,” he said about Goldstein.
In a preemptive move four hours before the meeting, Goldstein announced his resignation from the committee in an email to board chair Dempsey Kirk, copying the city council.
“Thank you for asking me to be on the search committee to find a director for the welcome center,” Goldstein wrote. “I respectfully decline and withdraw from serving on the committee.”
That did not prevent the city council from voting on Chalfant’s official request to reverse the Jan. 9 appointment, which failed 4-3.
City Councilwoman Annette Lewis, who along with Goldstein, Sinclair and Councilman Jim King voted against reversal, pointed out they approved Goldstein’s appointment last month with no opposition.
“That night we made appointments. I asked if anyone else was interested. No one stepped forward,” she said. “Councilman Goldstein volunteered. Grif joked he was in it ‘forever.’”
Following the failed vote Wednesday, Mayor Steve Tumlin threatened to use his veto power to negate the entire Jan. 9 slate of actions.
“What we’re talking about is conflict of interest,” he said. “We’ve asked him to leave.”
Instead, the city council approved the minutes without the Welcome Center appointment item, rendering the action as if it never happened.
“The appointment has been vetoed. It is now stricken from the record,” said City Attorney Doug Haynie.
Goldstein fought back, arguing that the action was prohibited by the city charter.
“The mayor must veto the item at the meeting before it adjourns. There was no veto at that meeting. The veto tonight is only of the minutes. It is not of the action appointing me to the board,” he said.
The appointment will be brought up next month during the personnel committee meeting.
The city council gets one representative on the board. Serving on the board is a nonpaid position.