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Member restored to board

January 07, 2003|by JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

SHARPSBURG - After the chairman of the Sharpsburg Zoning Appeals Board told Town Council members he thought having a council member on the appeals board was a conflict of interest, the council reinstated one of their own to the board in a closed session Monday night.

Brien Poffenberger addressed the council about several appeals board matters after questions were raised during election campaigning last fall about membership matters concerning the board.

Poffenberger said he told council members J.W. Eichelberger and Marjorie Jamison they were no longer appeals board members after they were appointed to serve on the Town Council because he thought having them serve on both bodies would be a conflict of interest.

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The Town Council creates the zoning laws and the appeals board decides who is granted exceptions, Poffenberger said.

"Talk me out of that, but that's where I am," Poffenberger said.

Town Attorney Charles Wagaman said the statute does not prohibit council members from serving on the appeals board.

When Poffenberger and other citizens left the public portion of the meeting, council members had said they would discuss the issue further later.

The mayor and council went into executive session to discuss litigation and a personnel matter, Mayor Sid Gale said after the executive session. When they were done with those matters, talk turned to the appeals board issue, he said.

Gale acknowledged that discussion should have been held at a public meeting and said he did not realize a reporter was waiting in the hallway for the closed session to end.

During the closed session, Gale said council members decided Poffenberger did not have the right to remove Eichelberger or Jamison from the appeals board.

Eichelberger didn't have time to serve on the board, but Jamison would serve on the board, Gale said. No vote was necessary because the council still considered Jamison to be a member, he said.

When reached at home, Poffenberger said he hoped to resolve several matters concerning the appeals board - including the conflict of interest - with the Town Council.

Poffenberger said he guessed Jamison would fill the vacancy on the three-member board. The board has four alternate members.

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