Mar 062013

By Linda Kor
The Winslow City Council neglected to follow its own policy in the selection of two Planning and Zoning commissioners earlier this year and has made the decision to revisit the matter.
On Jan. 22 the council accepted a selection committee recommendation of one candidate for each vacancy, apparently unaware of a policy established in May of 2011 that states the committee was to submit the names of two individuals for each position, as well as a letter stating why those selections were made. Although there were six candidates for the positions, only one recommendation was made for each position and no letter was presented.
The error was brought to the attention of the council during that meeting by a resident, but the council did not address the concern and accepted the recommendation.
“We screwed up,” admitted Mayor Robin Boyd, who explained that with previous vacancies there had not been more than one candidate for each position so the council was unaware that there was a different procedure for more candidates. “We’re going to send this back to the commission and have them select four candidates for consideration by the council. We may select the same two individuals, but at least we’re following policy.”
The policy also states that the committee is to interview the candidates and select the “most qualified members to serve.” The six candidates interviewed for the positions included John Henling, Robin Henrie, Tom Chacon, Judy Howell and Jim Weldon. While Henling and Henrie were the two candidates recommended for the positions, at least two other candidates had previous experience on the commission, causing them to question the selection.
Boyd acknowledged that there were candidates with previous experience on the commission, but said he also sees the value of having citizens contribute to the community and to serve on the commission who may not have had the opportunity in the past. “We will probably still push for new blood. The candidates who have concerns about the selection are the same people who, in the past, have been telling us how we need to get new people on these boards. They may have more expertise, but others should have the opportunity to serve,” stated Boyd.
Regardless of the outcome, Boyd realizes the importance of following procedure. “Mistakes were made and they need to be corrected. It doesn’t mean that it will make everyone happy, but at least we can say we went by the book,” noted the mayor.