Council appoints members
The Town Council on Monday confirmed several appointments to town boards and will meet next week to interview seven applicants for the remaining openings.
At stake are seats on the Planning Commission, Zoning Board of Review, Library Board of Trustees and Discover Newport. The meeting will be held on Monday, Dec. 23, at 5 p.m.
Town Administrator Kevin Paicos advised the councilors on Dec. 16 to “reaffirm” all the appointments they made at the prior council meeting. The reason was due to some procedural miscues, which Town Solicitor Peter Ruggiero discovered. Moreover, some candidates applied after the last meeting and the do-over afforded the opportunity to consider all the applicants.
The seven hopefuls are new candidates and in some instances are competing with sitting members who want to continue serving.
On the Planning Commission, five people have applied for three seats, but three current members, whose terms are expiring, have indicated they want to continue. Commissioners Richard Lynn, Michael Smith and Michael Cochran have asked to be reappointed to new four-year terms. However, Abigail Campbell King and Bernd Pfeiffer submitted letters of interest. Citing the significance of the Planning Commission, the councilors decided to interview King and Pfeiffer.
Pfeiffer has also applied for a seat on the Zoning Board of Review where six people have applied for five seats. Four are sitting members.
Richard Boren, a sitting member whose term is expiring, has asked to be reappointed to another five-year term, ending on Dec. 31, 2018. Thomas Ginnerty, chairman of the Zoning Board, has reached his third term limit and will step down, creating one vacancy. The councilors indicated, however, they may be inclined to replace Ginnerty by moving up Richard Cribb. He is currently an alternate member, who has asked to be appointed to a five-year term.
If the councilors go along, Cribb’s appointment would create a vacancy for first alternate, which Richard Allphin, now the second alternate, could fill. He has also asked to move up, as has Judith Bell, currently the third alternate. If she should move up to second alternate, the third alternate’s seat would remain to be filled.
Terrence Livingston, a new applicant, has also submitted a letter of interest for the remaining seat. All the alternates’ terms expire Dec. 31, 2014.
Interest in Jamestown’s seat on Discover Newport (formerly the Newport County Convention & Visitors Bureau) has resulted in two applications for one vacancy. The open seat was created when Jeff McDonough resigned. Robin Watters and Frank (Rusty) Sallee have submitted letters of interest. Sallee has the backing of the Jamestown Chamber of Commerce. Council President Kristine Trocki recused herself from the discussion because she serves on the chamber’s board. The other councilors will interview both Watters and Sallee.
To fill two three-year terms on the Library Board of Trustees, the councilors opted to interview Liz Brian and Paul Housberg, who have submitted letters of interest. The vacancies were created when Heidi Keller Moon reached her third term limit, and Nancy Logan resigned. The councilors had appointed Logan last year.
The councilors agreed to forego interviews for four boards: affordable housing, Beavertail advisory, harbor management, tree preservation, and juvenile hearing.
Barbara Szepatowski will serve on the Beavertail State Park Advisory Board, the councilors decided. She was also named to the Juvenile Hearing Board as an alternate, and will fill an open seat on the Affordable Housing Committee.
In nominating her to the Beavertail and the affordable housing panels, Councilor Mary Meagher said Szepatowski is “trained as an engineer” and would bring necessary skills to the committees.
Szepatowski will replace Anna Templeton-Cotill, who resigned.
Councilor Eugene Mihaly put Szepatowski’s name forward for the Juvenile Hearing Board after Bill Piva resigned. Agnes Cotter Filkins will move up from an alternate member, and Szepatwoski will fill the vacated alternate seat.
Szapatowski submitted letters of interest for all three vacancies. She was appointed to a three-year term ending May 31, 2016, on the Affordable Housing Committee, and to a two-year stint ending Dec. 1, 2015, on the Juvenile Hearing Board. No term was specified for the Beavertail advisory board.
Two candidates have applied for two seats on the Harbor Commission. Commissioner David Cain, whose term was expiring, asked to be reappointed to a new threeyear term ending Dec. 31, 2016. A vacancy was created when Commissioner Chris Brown reached his third term limit. Bruce Dickinson submitted a letter of interest and was appointed. Councilor Blake Dickinson recused himself from the vote.
Also, the councilors appointed Paula Samos to a three-year term ending Dec. 31, 2016, to the Tree Preservation & Protection Committee.
Finally, the councilors deferred filling a five-year term on the Housing Authority. The vacancy was created when Carole Phillips resigned. One candidate, Cheryl Mann, has applied. However, Meagher thought the seat has to be filled by a resident of Pemberton Apartments, and asked Town Clerk Cheryl Fernstrom to verify Mann’s situation.