Ashland City Hall Tidbits: Insider Politics – Ashland Style
Insider Politics – Ashland Style
By David Runkel
Hyatt Again City Council President
Councilor Paul Hyatt was selected by her colleagues last week to serve another one-year term as City Council President.
The only job of Council President, according to the City Charter is: “The President presides in the absence of the mayor and acts as mayor when the mayor is unable to perform duties.
Hyatt, who is in the final year of a four-year term but is widely expected to seek reelection, has been an ally of Mayor Tonya Graham. Most recently, according to City Hall sources, she worked closely with Graham in fashioning the forced resignation agreement with City Manager Joe Lessard. That included two private meetings with Lessard centered on city employee complaints that he had created a “toxic work environment.”
At Council sessions, Hyatt frequently questions city officials on proposed contracts, ordinances, budget lines and other matters, demonstrating that she has done her homework on agenda items. And, she is often the council member who moves to approve pending matters.
Hyatt moved to Ashland in 2016 with her husband, an ophthalmologist, and served as chair of the Citizens Budget Committee before her election. A native of upstate New York, she graduated from George Washington University with a degree in finance and later received a master’s in business administration. She worked in finance.
Jim Bachman Is New Parks Board Chair
Jim Bachman has been elected chair of the Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission, as Rick Landt decided to give up the chairmanship but agreed to serve as vice chair.
Bachman, who grew up in Yreka, was appointed to the parks commission two years ago in a three-two vote of the City Council. Supporting Bachman were now mayor Tonya Graham, Paula Hyatt and Stefi Seffinger, who herself was reappointed to the Parks board last fall after giving up her Council seat.
At last week’s parks board meeting, Landt announced he was not a candidate for reelection as chair and recommended Bachman as his successor. The vote was unanimous.
According to a biography posted on the Parks Commission webpage, Bachman has “a background in accounting, finance and public education, most recently serving on the Ashland Citizens’ Budget Committee during the last two budget cycles. He is strongly committed to creating and managing outdoor public spaces, particularly green ones, and has been enjoying Ashland’s Crown Jewel, Lithia Park, since 1969 during his high school days in Yreka. Jim spends as much time outdoors as possible, hiking Ashland’s trail system and tending his vegetable plot at the Ashland Creek Park Community Garden.”
Bachman lost his 2018 election campaign for a Parks Commission seat. Meanwhile, his wife, Jackie, briefly served on the City Council, having been appointed to fill a vacancy.
In recommending Jim Bachman’s appointment to the Parks Commission two years ago, Landt told the Council, “We had one candidate that stood out. We unanimously recommended that Jim Bachman be appointed based on both his experience in the written application and also his knowledge and understanding that he exhibited during the interview process.”
His chief opponent in that selection process was Eric Hansen, who won a Council seat two years ago. Hansen’s losing bid for a Parks Board seat was supported by Councilor Gina DuQuenne and former Councilor Shaun Moran.