Monday, August 15, 2022

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Graham, NC 27253
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Burlington short on volunteers for some city advisory boards

Burlington’s city council has agreed to keep the slots open for two of the city’s advisory boards and commissioners whose vacancies its members have, so far, been unable to fill due to a dearth of qualified applicants.

During a regularly-scheduled meeting on Tuesday, the council managed to find suitable candidates for 28 of the 33 available seats that have emerged this year on 10 of the city’s appointed boards. In filling these openings, the council exhausted its list of qualified applicants for these advisory bodies, leaving its members at a bit of a loss regarding the five remaining positions.

Among the appointments that remain available are three seats on the city’s board of adjustment that have been explicitly set aside for residents of Burlington’s extraterritorial jurisdiction. Two of the three vacancies are designated as alternates to the board of adjustment, a quasi-judicial body that hears requests for variances and special use permits.

In the meantime, the city’s planning and zoning commission has two more open positions for alternates – including one that’s designated for an alternate from the extraterritorial jurisdiction.

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The council was able to limit its available posts to these five positions thanks to some improvised assignments on Tuesday as its members considered the slate of appointments they needed to fill. Of particular concern to the council that evening was the lack of contenders to the board of adjustment – a highly specialized body whose hearings resemble court sessions with their review of evidence and testimony from witnesses who are duly sworn in.

As it happened, the council had only one request for reappointment to the board of adjustment from local attorney Robert Giles. Its members nevertheless had three more regular seats to fill on this body when its members convened Tuesday.

During that evening’s proceedings, Burlington’s city attorney David Huffman offered the council a temporary way out of its conundrum based on one of the by-laws for the board of adjustment, which requires outgoing members to continue serving until their positions are filled.

“Those individuals who have asked not to be reappointed,” he went on to assure the council, “may be surprised to find that they’re still on [the board] until you can find their successors.”

In the end, the council didn’t have to rely on this expedient once councilman Harold Owen recalled that the board’s membership included two alternates. Owen proceeded to propose that the alternates John Glenn and Eric Grant be promoted to full membership, provided they accept these appointments. This move nevertheless left the council with the vacant extraterritorial position as well as the two extraterritorial alternates still unaccounted for.

The council also faced a shortage of current members willing to be reappointed on the city’s planning and zoning commission. The only veteran member to apply for his board was its current vice chairman John Black. The council was nevertheless able to tap newcomer Lee Roane for another regular seat on the commission, while it installed Mark Kennedy in a vacant position reserved for a resident of Burlington’s extraterritorial jurisdiction. Meanwhile, its members appointed Amber Wright to serve as an alternate for a full three-year term and Patricia Gamble as an alternate for an abbreviated term of two years. The council was unable to find anyone to fill two other openings for alternates – one of which is set aside for an extraterritorial resident.

The council also made the following appointments to the city’s other advisory boards and commissions:
· Melinda Freeman to a vacancy on the Burlington Housing Authority;
· Kristina Meinking, Brian Pennington, and Russ Vandermaas-Peller to seats they currently hold on Burlington’s Historic Preservation Commission;
· Josh Adkins and Wendy Geiss to vacancies on the historic preservation commission (for full, three-year terms in each case);
· Valencia Reid to a truncated one-year term on the historic preservation commission;
· Shakeitha Jones to a vacancy on Burlington’s Minimum Housing Commission;
· Mark Clapp and Tim Ross to seats they currently hold on the Burlington Recreation and Parks Commission;
· Christopher Wyman and Val Cauther to vacancies on the recreation and parks commission;
· Scott Hrinko to a seat he currently holds on the Burlington Traffic Commission
· Suzanne Hughett to a vacancy on the traffic commission;
· Scott Keener to a seat he currently holds on the city’s tree and appearance commission;
· Bryan Ickes and Cameron Holmes to vacancies on the tree and appearance commission;
· Mike Mills to a seat he currently holds on Burlington’s Public Transportation Advisory Commission;
· Bonita Brown to a truncated two-year term on the public transportation advisory commission;
· and Mary Angele Hill to a vacancy on Burlington’s Library Committee.

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