Ballpark Authority gets underway, with questions about one member

The first meeting of the Minnesota Ballpark Authority, the five-member group that will own and oversee the new Twins stadium in Downtown's North Loop neighborhood, encountered its first glitch just minutes after it began July 7.

State Rep. Barb Sykora (R-33B), one of the authority's five members, announced she would not be voting at the meeting. Sykora, who is not seeking reelection this fall, may not be eligible to serve on the Ballpark Authority because she is still a member of the House. State law prohibits legislators from holding another office. But while a solution is being worked out, Sykora attended the meeting.

&#8220I wanted to be here so I can learn everything that I need to know,” said Sykora, who was appointed to the Authority by Hennepin County.

Hennepin County Commissioner Gail Dorfman said before the meeting that it's unlikely that the county would want to leave one of its appointments open until January, when Sykora's term in the House will end. Sykora will probably have to either resign from the House early or step down from the Ballpark Authority, Dorfman said. Either way, Dorfman said she would like to know by the Authority's next meeting July 21.

&#8220If we need to appoint somebody else, we will. But I think we're all more than willing to give her the time to consider it,” Dorfman said.

After Sykora briefly mentioned the concern regarding her eligibility, the Ballpark Authority got down to business. It adopted its bylaws and named four members as officers. Minneapolis appointee and former City Councilmember Joan Campbell will serve as secretary. The Authority also listened to an overview of the project from representatives of the Minnesota Twins and city of Minneapolis before discussing hiring an executive director. State statutes require that the authority hire an executive director within 30 days of its first meeting, but because of the tight timeline, members could choose an interim appointment until they find a permanent candidate.