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Ferndale City Council meeting (January 17, 2017). Photo: My Ferndale News

What you missed at last night’s City Council meeting

The council chamber was packed last night, mostly due to high school students in attendance and they were fortunate to get a mix of topics and discussion during a relatively short meeting.

All councilmembers and City staff were in attendance when the meeting began at 6pm.

City staff returned with a revised proposal for handicapped parking spaces downtown. The revision moved one proposed space from 3rd and Main to an angled parking space adjacent to the City Hall Annex (City Council and Municipal Court Chambers building). It was approved by unanimous vote to convert the four spaces to handicapped spots and monitor their effectiveness.

City staff made a presentation of expected changes to the City’s Critical Areas Ordinance. This was only for discussion and councilmembers took no action.

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Mayor Jon Mutchler presented his recommendations for seats on the Planning Commission, Parks, Recreation and Trails Advisory Board (PRTAB) and Arts Commission. The appointees for the PRTAB and Arts Commission were approved by unanimous vote.

But the appointee for the Planning Committee seat was not approved. Mutchler attempted to recommend Greg Crim for the position previously held by Yvonne Goldsmith. Goldsmith’s term expired at the end of 2016 when Mutchler chose not to reappoint her. Mutchler had previously attempted to appoint Crim during a council meeting in early December and was rebuked by members of the council then.

Councilmember Greg Hansen said at last night’s council meeting Goldsmith did not help herself by saying she didn’t expect to be able work with the Mayor. As such, they (the council) should move forward and approve Crim, someone who would work with the Mayor, for the position.

Mayor Mutchler pointed out his long history of working with Goldsmith and how she and her husband had worked to advance his political career by encouraging and supporting his running for school board and city council positions. He also noted their support during the recent mayoral election went to his opponents.

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Mutchler also said he felt it was a good idea to bring in fresh new ideas to commissions with new members.

Hansen and Mutchler both pointed out a similar City Council decision not to reappoint Sam Boulos, a standing Planning Commissioner, when his term expired several years ago.

Councilmember Keith Olson said the Boulos decision was made to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest given the extent of his company’s development projects around the city. He said his refusal to appoint Crim was not a reflection on Crim but due to the treatment of Goldsmith at the end of her term.

Olson said there is a Planning Commissioner with nearly 30 years on the commission so if Mutchler wanted to replace older commissioners, why chose Goldsmith who had been on the commission for 8 years.

Councilmember Brent Goodrich repeated his unhappiness regarding the treatment of Goldsmith at the end of her term stating she deserved a plaque instead of the email sent from the Mayor.

Councilmember Cathy Watson said, while she felt Crim was a good candidate, Mutchler was not being honest with himself regarding the basis for his decision not to reappoint Goldsmith. She said his problems with Goldsmith were never regarding her service on the Planning Commission but that she challenged his mileage reimbursements for driving to the office from home, cellphone charges and other items.

Councilmember Rebecca Xczar said she also did not like how the dismissal of Goldsmith was handled but would vote to approve Crim’s appointment.

The Mayor asked for a roll call vote of the council for the motion to approve the appointment of Crim to the Planning Commission. The vote failed 3 to 4 with councilmembers Teresa Taylor, Xczar and Hansen voting in favor and councilmembers Olson, Watson, Goodrich and Bersch voting against.

Olson made a motion to reduce the positions on the Planning Commission to 6 in order to end repeated proposals seat someone other than Goldsmith. That motion failed 3 to 4 with only councilmembers Olson, Watson and Goodrich in favor.

The meeting was adjourned at 7pm.

 

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