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City Council deadlocks on PEDC board nominations

PEDC_depot_sliderThe Paris City Council deadlocked over nominations to the Paris Economic Development Corp. board as members nominated people to fill vacant seats on various boards, commissions and committees.

Of the 11 boards needing appointments, only PEDC failed to get any new members. Seven people applied for the two openings – one being vacated by Vicki Ballard at the end of this month and one left vacant after Bruce Carr stepped down – and none of them could get a majority vote. Councilman Edwin Pickle made the first nomination for Don Wilson, which failed 3-3 – as did nominations for James Brockman and James Price.

“We haven’t had a minority on this board,” Councilman Aaron Jenkins said. “I would like to nominate James Price, and he can represent District 2 and the west side.”

Councilwoman Sue Lancaster said she would also like to look at minorities for the board, stating that businessmen haven’t always worked out very well.

None of the other applicants received a nomination, so the matter will have to be brought up again at the next council meeting.

Benny Plata

Benny Plata

“I think personal vendettas need to be set aside,” Councilman Benny Plata said. “You’re passing up some good people here who are very business minded.”

With Mayor Pro-Tem Richard Grossnickle absent from the meeting, there was no way to break the ties. Pickle attempted to table all nominations before they began. Mayor Matt Frierson seconded, and Plata joined them in support of the motion. Councilman A.J. Hashmi, Lancaster and Jenkins voted against.

“I understand your concern, but I think some of the boards have become kind of nonfunctional, so I would favor going ahead,” Hashmi said.

The one point they could agree on was that Pickle will serve as the City Council liaison to the PEDC board.

The other boards were all filled:

  • Planning & Zoning Commission. Ten applied for four open seats. One was vacated when Plata was elected to the City Council. Of the other three, Holland Harper and Jerry Akers were reappointed. Keith Flowers was not; his nomination from Jenkins failed 3-3. The other two seats went to Barney Bray and Billy Trenado. Lancaster will serve as liaison.
  • Airport Advisory Board. Three seats were open with seven applicants. Dennis Ashby and Phillip Payne were reappointed to their positions. Billy Copeland did not seek another term, which went to Matt Birch. Frierson will be the council’s liaison.
  • Municipal Band Commission. This board had two vacancies and seven applications. Bennie Tschoerner did not seek another term, and Betsy Mills was not nominated. The seats went to Randy Bunch and Christian Lindsey. Pickle will serve as liaison.
  • Building and Standards Commission. There were six applicants for three openings. Sally McEwin was reappointed to the board. Zach Saffle and Wilson did not seek to serve again. Their seats went to Randall Lindsey and Ben Vaughan. Lancaster will serve as liaison.
  • Historic Preservation Commission. Six applied for the three vacant seats. Nancy Anderson and David Stewart did not reapply, while Vaughan went to another board. The new members are Ruth Ann Alsobrook, Cindy Allcorn and Sherrie Holbert. Frierson will serve as liaison.
  • Main Street Advisory Board. This one saw nine apply for four openings. Jill Drake and Nancy Waldrum were reappointed, and the other two seats were vacant. New members are Glee Emmite and Missy Starnes. Plata will serve as liaison.
  • Library Advisory Board. Six applied for four openings. Francine Neeley was reappointed. Denise Kornegay, Rebecca Umphrey and Mike Pendleton will replace Dr. Alice Woodard, Pat Books and Linda Vandiver, who did not seek reappointment. Hashmi will serve as liaison.
  • Paris Housing Authority. This board had two openings and received five applications. Mary Hughes did not reapply, and Emmite went to another board. The new members will be Gary Savage and Denise Williams.
  • Traffic Commission. There were seven who applied to fill the three available slots. Joe McCarthy, Jean Scheers and Kenneth Millsap did not seek another term on the board. Their seats will be filled by David Ballard, Stephen Englehardt and Bill Sanders. Jenkins will serve as liaison.
  • Zoning Board of Adjustments. This one saw four apply for one opening. Bryan Glass was reappointed to his seat.

In addition to filling those positions, the council had to select some of their own to fill various duties. Frierson and Pickle will serve on the Visitors & Convention Council board, and Hashmi will serve on the Ark-Tex Council of Governments.

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