SP Appearance Commission Members Resign, Claim Politicized Appointment Process
Chairman Greg Zywocinski and at least three other members of the Southern Pines Appearance Commission have resigned because they claim the Town Council has politicized the appointment process.
The Town Council recently appointed three new members to the commission without seeking input from commission members. In the recent past, the 13-member commission sent its recommendations to the council for approval.
The council also recently decided to enforce two-term limit for members of volunteer entities, making the Appearance Commission the last to be brought in line.
As a result, longtime commission members Blanche Woodruff, Joyce Jackson and Lester Seidenberg were removed, even though they had indicated that they would continue to serve. They were replaced by Carol Haney, Bertha Shaw and Ed Garrison.
"After what has happened, as a matter of conscience and principle, I can no longer serve," Zywocinski said Tuesday before walking out of the commission's monthly meeting.
Vice Chairman Bud Wallen took over the meeting, but resigned on Wednesday in an email to Assistant Town Manager David White.
"I am proud to have been associated with so many talented and dedicated people that are both current and former members of the Southern Pines Appearance Commission," Wallen said in the email.
Andrea Wise--Leech, who was in her second term, and Suzy Morgan also resigned.
"It has now come to light that under the current administration these are political appointments at the whim of the mayor. For that reason I am resigning," Morgan said Wednesday in a resignation email.
Wise-Leech also resigned for political reasons.
"We've been above politics and such a collegial group. Now, we've been politicized," Wise-Leech said Wednesday. "I'm sick to leave and give this up. It was not an easy decision. I just wish there were some way to salvage this."
Wise-Leech took Mayor David McNeill to task at Tuesday's meeting.
McNeill cited the town's Unified Development Ordinance (UDO), which reads, "The Town Council may from time to time, but generally at times of appointment, appoint members at its sole discretion based upon the proportional representation. Recommendations of the Appearance Commission on appointments will be submitted to the Council for review and consideration."
"The council had to address the matter at some point. Why not now?" McNeill said Wednesday. "Recommendations for appointments to these committees are welcomed and encouraged, but tempered to a point where it does not evolve into a sitting self-appointing committee of the town."
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