2009-06-25 / Front Page

Planning Commission chair declines re-election

By Tyler Will

After 12 years of serving on the commission that grants variances, special-use permits and makes other crucial decisions that affect Jamestown’s future, Planning Commission Chairman Gary Girard announced last week that he will not run for re-election.

He has been nominated to serve as vice chair for the remaining six months of his term, which expires this coming December.

Girard was chair of the Planning Commission for about six years. If he had opted for another term, he would have remained on the commission until December 2012, and would have likely served as its chairman.

“I have put in a lot of time and effort on the Planning Commission,” Girard said after the meeting. “There is always a time to go on to something new.”

Girard said he will spend the rest of his term as vice chair. Meanwhile, Michael Swistak, the current vice chairman of the Planning Commission, has been unanimously nominated to assume the role of chairman. Girard will spend the next six months helping Swistak learn the ins and outs of being chairman to ensure a smooth transition.

At the conclusion of Wednesday’s Planning Commission meeting, Girard read a statement.

“It’s been an honor and a privilege for me to serve the town of Jamestown as both the vice chair and chair of the Planning Commission for the past 12 years,” he said. “I do not intend to accept another term on the Planning Commission.

“Therefore, I believe it is in the best interests of the Commission as we elect new officers for the term of July 2009 to June 2010 for me not to run as chair. I intend to spend my remaining amount of time on the commission assisting the chair, the new chair. I thank you all for your past and continued support,” he said.

Girard said two other commissioners also have terms that will expire this December, and he does not expect either of them to opt for another term on the commission. Town Planning Assistant Cinthia “Cindy” Reppe said the other two are Commissioners Richard Ventrone and Jean Brown, who with Girard are the senior members of the group. “There might be a lot of new faces,” Reppe said.

When the exact number of vacant spots is known, the town will conduct interviews and go through a selection process, Reppe said.

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