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Bowers is bumped from Pen Mar seat

June 04, 1997

By STEVEN T. DENNIS

Staff Writer

The Washington County Commissioners decided Tuesday not to appoint fellow Commissioner Ronald L. Bowers to the board of the new corporation that will oversee redevelopment at Fort Ritchie.

Bowers had been serving as the commissioners' liaison with the Fort Ritchie Local Redevelopment Authority and wanted to continue in that capacity with the new Pen Mar Development Corp.

Commissioner John S. Shank said he didn't want any elected official to have a vote on the development corporation and made a motion to that effect.

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"If you don't want me on the board, that's fine," Bowers said. But Bowers said the commissioners shouldn't change the makeup of the development corporation just because of their animosity toward him.

"I don't have any animosity to you," Shank said.

"It's obvious you do," Bowers said.

"I just don't think any elected official should be on that board," Shank said.

Bowers tried to amend Shank's motion to prevent the commissioner liaison to the Washington County Planning Commission - currently James R. Wade - from having a vote on the planning commission.

Shank said that was fine with him, but didn't second the motion, which died for lack of a second.

Shank then withdrew his motion in favor of a motion by Wade to have the sitting commissioners president - at the moment Gregory I. Snook - sit on the Pen Mar Development Corp. board instead of Bowers.

Wade expressed concern that Bowers could stay on the Pen Mar Development Corp. for a four-year term even if he were to be voted out of office next year, which would leave the commissioners without a voice on the board. But Sweeney said the commissioner liaison could be appointed on a year-to-year basis to avoid that problem.

"And if the sitting president can't make it?" Snook asked Wade.

Wade and Shank assured Snook he could find the time.

"That's why we have our meetings at 7:30 a.m.," said Robert Sweeney, executive director of the development commission.

Bowers, the only commissioner to vote against Wade's motion, said after the meeting that he was a victim of politics.

"I was told by a commissioner before that if I did not vote for the budget I would not be on that board," said Bowers, who didn't name the commissioner.

"I know nothing about that," Snook said. "I don't know why that issue even came up. It really doesn't matter to me."

Shank said he also didn't know anything about Bowers' accusation, and said he didn't think the commissioners were trying to keep Bowers off the board. He said the board made the right decision because the commissioners will always have a member on the board - whoever is the president.

Wade and Commissioner R. Lee Downey could not be reached for comment Tuesday evening.

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