Commission changes approved

Published 10:39 pm Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Farmville Town Council has agreed to change the makeup of the town’s planning commission, increasing ward representation and staggering member’s terms.

The unanimous action followed a public hearing on the ordinance change, which drew no speakers. Council, too, offered no comment while considering the matter.

Currently, the commission’s members only represent Wards A and B, according to town officials. Changes include removing Town Manager Gerald Spates and At-large Councilman Dan Dwyer from the commission.

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The hearing focused centered on representation from each of the five wards and having no fewer than five and no more than 15 members. The ordinance change also includes the possibility of appointed ex-officio (non-voting) members to the commission.

In August, council agreed to a proposal to amend the term dates for the current members, staggering them to expire in 2017 and 2018. The current members of the commission would fulfill their terms, said Ward E Councilman J.J. “Jamie” Davis, who offered the recommendations.

David Whitus

David Whitus

According to Davis,commissioners Abby O’Connor and Dr. Chuck Ross’ terms would expire in 2017 while Chairman Sherry Honeycutt and commissioners L.D. Phaup and Dr. John Miller’s terms would expire in 2018.

If no qualified representative can be found or is willing to serve from a ward, council could appoint someone from another ward, Davis explained.

In August, council members adopted policies for the training of commission members and for applications to the commission be reviewed by the council’s personnel committee.

Gerald Spates

Gerald Spates

Several weeks ago, council unanimously amended the town code to mirror state code, where one council member and administrative official “may” serve instead of “shall” serve on the commission.

During a prior meeting, Spates said commissioners should be appointed by wards, noting that — excluding Spates — three of the six current commissioners live in Ward A and the other three in Ward B. Currently wards C, D and E have no representation on the commission.