Jonathan Paton, the former legislator who helped strip Rio Nuevo from the city, is one of the four new appointees to the Rio Nuevo Board.
Four new Rio Nuevo members have officially been appointed to the board, set up by the Legislature in 2009 and appointed in 2010, Rio Nuevo Board Chairman Jodi Bain said. Three were appointed by the governor, and Paton was appointed by Speaker of the House Kirk Adams.
The four Rio Nuevo Board appointments:
• Paton, the former state legislator and congressional candidate.
• Jeff Hill, a former legislator and owner of Hill & Hill accounting.
• Jannie Cox, the former chief executive officer of the Carondelet Foundation.
• Tim Bathen, owner/broker at Arizona Acquisition Strategies.
Paton was one of the primary legislators behind a bill in 2009 that stripped control of Rio Nuevo from the city because the city had spent $230 million downtown with little to show for it.
One of the reasons he wants to join the board, Paton said, is the potential of getting state legislation passed that would give the board more power in its relationship with the city.
Despite writing the original legislation, Paton said the power the board has to check on the city is "not as great as it should be."
"It was done in a hurry to get some accountability," Paton said, adding that it could be improved. "There are things in the enabling legislation that need to be changed."
He said the board can be effective, but "part of the problem has been the city has stood in the way of anything happening."
Rio Nuevo should seek to get money back from the city in certain cases if it can, he said. "I have a problem philosophically with absolving them for past deeds," Paton said.
The appointments fill out the Rio Nuevo Board to its full 12 members. It had been understaffed for some time because of numerous resignations over the past year.
The terms of two of the three remaining board members - Jeff DiGregorio and Anne-Marie Russell, from the former board - will expire on May 20, Bain said.
Victor Soltero's term will expire May 20, 2012, at which point the board will be formed by nine members, all appointed by the governor or members of the state Legislature.
Bain said she is excited about the new members taking their seats, which should happen in the next month or so.
"We looking forward to see how we work together," Bain said. "It should be very good."
Contact reporter Rob O'Dell at 573-4346 or firstname.lastname@example.org