The city has tapped former Greene County Judge Miles Sweeney to lead a citizen task force that will discuss whether action is needed to protect local gay and transgender residents from discrimination. Sweeney, who retired in 2007 after 23 years on the bench, will serve as the non-voting chair of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Citizens Task Force. He’s scheduled to speak briefly at a 2 p.m. news conference today during which the city will announce the names of eight members of the task force nominated by council members. Others interested in serving on the task force have until Friday to apply for the remaining seven positions. Mayor Bob Stephens said Sweeney’s experience and temperament made him an easy choice to lead the group. “He’s got an impeccable reputation around the community,” Stephens said Wednesday. “The fact that he’s a former judge lends a gravitas to the task force. And he’s a specialist in arbitration — getting two people who are disagreeing on an issue to some kind of agreement.” The topic the task force will study is among the most controversial City Council has tackled in recent years.
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