The Carthage Board of Commissioners voted Monday to take a more active role in determining who serves on the town’s planning board.
In the past, prospective members were appointed by the commissioners based on the recommendation of the planning board, which conducted its own interviews with candidates. Mayor Jimmy Chalflinch recommended changing this policy to allow the commissioners to interview the candidates.
“I know that the planning board interviews them but I feel like if we’re going to vote on them, we should be interviewing them, too,” he said. “I don’t want to put somebody on there who agrees with everything we’re going to say. At the same time, I want somebody there who we can work with.”
Emily Yopp, the town clerk, noted that the appointment process in Carthage is “not typical.” In most municipalities, she said, planning board members are interviewed and selected by the commissioners.
“This is the first time I have seen a governing board delegate its appointment authority to a planning board,” said Tom Robinson, manager of the town. “Of all your boards, this is probably the most important. This is your chance to not necessarily have people who rubber-stamp what you want to do, but to make sure that you have people that are sort of aligned with your thinking to give you their best input.”
Two positions on the planning board were left vacant following the recent death of member Max Muse and the election of Commissioner Anton Sadovnikov, who was forced to give up his seat in order to serve on the board of commissioners. An additional three seats are up for consideration, although the incumbent members have all asked to be re-appointed.
“When you’ve got three people that are already on the board who are re-applying, it’s hard to interview yourself and be unbiased,” Chalflinch said, adding that the current members’ attendance records should also be taken into consideration as part of the decision-making process. “If you want to serve on the board, you need to be there for the meetings.”
The commissioners voted to hold a special meeting on Jan. 7 to interview all of the candidates seeking three-year terms on the planning board. The town will continue to accept applications from candidates ahead of the meeting. Click here to download the form.