Planning Commission Composition in 2012

The staff report for the City Council meeting on April 10, 2012 lists the recommendations for appointment of three new members to the Olympia Planning Commission: Judy Bardin, Agnieszka Kisza, and Jerry Parker. Bless their hearts and good luck. They’ll need it.

This recommendation from the General Government Committee (GGC) is noteworthy for a couple of obvious reasons:  1.) It appears the GGC is recommending a reduction in the total number of commissioners from 11 to nine; 2.) Two commissioners, Thomas Muller and Richard Wolf, were not recommended for reappointment which is unprecedented as far as I know.

I truly believe that an influx of new blood was necessary, but I figured the turnover of the three who did not reapply (myself included) would have remedied that issue. The GGC disagreed with me. It will be interesting to see whether the fewer number of commissioners will have any influence on those interminable deliberations with which I grew so impatient last year. I have my doubts about that, unless there is a comprehensive review of the general deliberation process, and a much greater emphasis on the commission’s general objectives in the conduct of its work. I felt that was sorely deficient over the last two years.

For reference on how this appointment process works, the GGC conducts the nuts and bolts of the commissioner selection process by review of application materials and interviews of candidates. The GGC recommends their choices to the full City Council which has the option to adopt and reject them as you can see by reading the staff report above. Interestingly, I recall that when I was appointed, the OPC recommendations were a consent item on the council’s agenda. That is not the case this time so it may well be that Commissioners Muller and Wolf remain on the commission depending on the council’s decision tomorrow night.

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