There’s a short way and a long way of doing things.
When City Councilman Ed Childers recently referred the issue of Ward 2 councilwoman Anne Kazmierczak’s residency to the Committee of the Whole for consideration—he’s concerned she may have moved to a house in Ward 3—the bureaucratic wheels began to churn. Slowly.
So the Independent decided to take a shortcut and knocked on Kazmierczak’s Ward 2 door in the middle of a stormy Monday. When the door opened, two dogs, two kids and one Council member came pouring out. Informed as to why we had stopped by—to inquire where she did, in fact, reside— Kazmierczak threw up her arms with a great big smile and declared, “Here I am!”
Meanwhile, the official Council process of looking into Kazmierczak’s residency hasn’t yet begun. Council President Jack Reidy said Tuesday he’d ask City Attorney Jim Nugent to issue an opinion about residency requirements for Council members. Then the Council will likely take the matter up, though not until mid-July, in an investigative hearing.
Childers’ concerns are all well and good on their face: The phone number that’s listed for Kazmierczak on several Council contact lists is in the current phone book attached to a Ward 3 address, a house she and her husband bought last summer. State residency rules for Council members mandate that representatives live in their wards, and they can have only one residence.
But Kazmierczak says she and her husband are split up—she lives in Ward 2, he lives in Ward 3, and the kids commute. She bristles at the invasion into her family life, while Childers insists he’s just trying to figure out whether everyone’s following the rules. Both sides hint that politics are involved one way or another.
Kazmierczak wishes the questions had been presented to her directly before the official process was set in motion. And she said as much in a fervent e-mail exchange with Childers and others: “I suggest if you want to know something about me, or anyone else, you go to the source. As Big Bird rightly says, ‘Asking questions is a great way to find out things.’”