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PenMar board members in dispute

July 19, 2003|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

Some Cascade residents and the PenMar Board of Directors disagree over whether two board members should continue serving their terms.

Residents Karl Weissenbach and Jim Lemon said after a PenMar board meeting this week it was their opinion that PenMar board members Terry Randall and Regis Binder have missed too many meetings and should be removed.

Brett Wilson, former chair of the 15-member board, acknowledged that Randall and Binder have missed several meetings but said they should continue serving. He said minutes of the meetings they missed mistakenly did not note their absences were excused.

Wilson was chair until Monday, when the board elected new officers. He said he did not know how many meetings Randall and Binder missed.

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Washington County Attorney Richard Douglas said PenMar's bylaws state that any member who has at least three consecutive unexcused absences is to be automatically removed from the board.

"They should not be put off for an administerial mistake," Wilson said in a telephone interview.

PenMar Development Corp. was created by the state to redevelop the former Fort Ritchie U.S. Army base when it shut down in 1998. PenMar board members are appointed by the Washington County Commissioners.

Weissenbach and Lemon said they objected to Randall and Binder voting Monday morning to install new officers.

"They let them vote and basically treated them like board members today," Lemon said.

"That just smells a little bit," Weissenbach said.

Wilson said Randall and Binder were excused from several board meetings for work-related purposes. He said that despite the absences they were active on board committees and in other board functions.

Paula Lampton, who also serves as chair of the Washington County Planning Commission, was elected chair of the PenMar Board of Directors. Ronald Sulchek was elected vice chair, and Thomas C. Newcomer was elected treasurer.

Weissenbach said he had concerns with Lampton becoming chair and that her roles on the Planning Commission and PenMar board may give an appearance of conflict of interest since the Planning Commission may deal with potential development issues at the former base.

Lampton said if a PenMar matter came before the Planning Commission she would abstain from voting.

"Frankly, I don't feel it's an issue, myself," Lampton said.

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