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Morgan County planning commissioners face reappointment interviews

July 11, 2008|By TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. -- Despite the objections of Planning Commission President Jack Soronen, three board members who are up for reappointment on the planning commission will be interviewed July 25 by the Morgan County Commission. 

At Friday's commission meeting, Commissioner Brenda J. Hutchinson requested the two-week delay to confer with other county commissions because Soronen was opposed to the interviews.

Hutchinson said there is a lot of interest in serving on the planning commission, and the county has about 10 applications in the file. 

Soronen, Tucker Steinbaugh and Wayne Omps are the three board members whose appointments expired June 30. The volunteer board appointments are for three years. 

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Soronen read from a written statement, "I can't help to think that this could be seen as politically motivated in an election year, with a thought to force or harass well-serving members of the Planning Commission to make room for more radical people." 

The process for reviewing appointments that was adopted in September 2007 includes a review of the member's attendance and past activity, and if one commissioner wants to interview a reappointment, it will be done in a public meeting.  

"My intention is not to intimidate them," Hutchinson said. "This is a good two-way process."

Hutchinson said she asked Mary Ellen Sargent, a planning commission board member, and Sargent told her she had no problem with being questioned by the commission in a reappointment interview. 

Local business owner Connie Perry said she would have no problem if the commission "asked me to talk to them."  

"Any Morgan County Commissioner should be allowed to ask. It's very offensive to Brenda Hutchinson. It's like the tail wagging the dog," Perry said. 

Commission President Glen R. Stotler said, "We have the right to bring anyone in. We have a policy, and it allows one commissioner to do this." 

Commissioner Thomas R. Swaim said he didn't think it was right to ask volunteers to come in to be questioned.  

"You do too much of that, it will come back to haunt you," he said.

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