Danedri Thompson
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For a second time, council members tabled making appointments to a series of advisory committees.
During a Sept. 21 meeting, council members debated the appointment of two Kristina Harrison recommended appointments: the appointment of Adrianna Meder, planning commission chair, to the economic development advisory committee; and the appointment of Steve Hale to the citizens police advisory committee.
Following that meeting, Mayor Chris Morrow notified council members Harrison and Lee Moore that he would not be formally recommending either of their suggestions for appointment to the police advisory committee. Moore suggested the appointment of Walter Hermreck.
During the Oct. 5 council meeting, Moore said the appointment process needs to be corrected.
“There’s some issues with what the definition of ‘recommendation’ is versus what a final recommendation is,” Moore said. “I would even go so far as to say we should rescind all of those and start over.”
The council created five advisory committees – a streets, sidewalks and stormwater advisory committee, a citizens police advisory committee, an Americans with Disabilities Act advisory committee, a parks and recreation advisory committee and an economic development advisory committee – back in July. Under the original resolution, council members were each tasked with recommending individuals for appointment to the committees. Morrow would then formally recommend those appointments and then council would vote to approve the recommendations. Each council member would serve as a liaison to a committee.
Without controversy, council members appointed five people to the streets, sidewalks and stormwater committee, in which Moore serves as the liaison. Moore suggested grandfathering that committee.
Council briefly discussed creating very specific criteria for members of each committee, however they eventually agreed to formally require only that committee members be Gardner residents. They suggested that potential committee members should have some expertise related to the committee.
“If we reestablish some of the ordinances around the committees, I would like to see quantifiable criteria for the candidates,” Harrison said during the Oct. 5 meeting. “It’s as simple as (potential appointees) meet them or they don’t meet criteria.”
Morrow said regular people shouldn’t be excluded from the committees. For example, he noted Adam Boydston, a member of the streets and sidewalk committee, doesn’t have particular expertise.
“He’s not a qualified engineer or city planner or any of the types of technical expertise that you’re looking for,” Morrow said. However, he called Boydston a “diligent citizen” who regularly addresses council on the need for sidewalks.
“You’re wasting our time, Mayor,” Moore said. “We need to talk about whether we want to move forward on this.”
“First off, I’m sorry you felt the need to interrupt me,” Morrow said. “I will not interrupt you.”
Morrow said he doesn’t want the council to be exclusionary when making appointments.
“When you take into consideration that each of you gets a recommendation and maybe if we had a little bit of respect for other peoples’ recommendations, I think we could get this done,” Morrow said.
A unanimous council agreed to table committee appointments. The streets, sidewalks and stormwater committee was scheduled to meet after press time.