Making qualified appointments to boards

Published 7:00 am Thursday, February 18, 2016

Tuesday night, council members were drawn into a discussion about the unfairness of board appointments as it deals with district representation.
Councilor Larry Breland, who said representation from his and Councilor Lynn Bogan Bumpers’ districts within city boards is lacking, brought up the matter.
However, during the discussion it was discovered that Councilor Tammy Valente has even less representation within city boards from her district. Valente appeared unconcerned with the discovery, even lending a comment that her nominations to boards is based on experience, not where the candidate lives in the city limits.
On the face of the matter discussed during Tuesday’s meeting, it appears Breland and Bumpers want representation from their district based on where the person lives, not whether they are qualified to serve on the board. Breland wants an ordinance passed that will ensure appointments are “fair.”
It is our hope that any ordinance set forth as a result of Breland’s request will not set a standard where board members are appointed based on where they live within the city.
Appointments to these boards, which include the school board, utility authority, planning commission and the housing committee, should be made based on merits the candidate has demonstrated.
To appoint anyone less qualified to these positions will lead to a board filled with possibly ineffectual representation, negating any of the leadership that is essential in these boards.
To be clear, representation within each district should be as close to even as possible, but if a candidate with more experience and leadership capability can fill a vacancy within one of these boards, then that person should be considered above all others.

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