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Planning panel appointment will stand

August 11, 2007|By TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - Wayne Omps' appointment to the Morgan County Planning Commission will stand following a discussion Friday by the county commission.

Commission President Glen R. Stotler said since the appointment officially was made by Commissioner Thomas R. Swaim and Stotler, it could not be rescinded by the commission.

The appointment paperwork was signed July 27, but Commissioner Brenda J. Hutchinson refused to sign it. She called for further discussion of the appointment, and asked for it to be revisited in a public meeting, which was agreed to by Stotler and Swaim.

Hutchinson felt Omps was too closely associated with development, and said she would not be on the planning commission because she is too closely associated with zoning.

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Eight people applied for the planning commission seat, Hutchinson said, and she wanted the appointment selection process changed.

In the past, Planning Commission President Jack Soronen has made recommendations to the commission, Hutchinson said, and she saw his recommendation of Susan Caperton to the vacancy. Hutchinson said she was surprised when she saw Omps being approved by Stotler and Swaim.

Stotler and Swaim agreed to Hutchinson's suggestions to publicize any board openings, date-stamp and review all applications, choose top applicants and interview them publicly for future appointments.

The majority of those who voiced their opinions during the public hearing disapproved of the commission's decision to not include Omps in the new process.

Morgan County resident Kris O'Brien asked the commission to ask Omps to resign so the new process of choosing board appointments could begin with the planning commission opening. Stotler refused to ask him and Omps did not answer.

Omps said after the meeting that he did not want to comment on whether he would consider resigning his appointment and reapplying to serve on the planning commission.

"I was disappointed in the commissioners' decision not to revisit the Omps appointment and not including it in the new process, but we did accomplish the beginning of a new way to choose board appointments," Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson, a Democrat, defeated Omps for a seat on the county commission in last November's general election.

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