After hearing from several candidates, the Montezuma County commission voted to appoint Rob Pope to fill a vacancy on the planning and zoning board. Stan Pierce was also approved to serve as an alternate on the board.
Pope was raised in the Four Corners area, has a degree in electrical engineering, and has housing development experience. He said he is familiar with the county land-use code, and has been involved in local development projects.
Pierce brings decades of real-estate experience to the board, and has served on government boards, including for a water district and the Cortez Sanitation District.
“Both offer unique experience, and having an alternate ensures we have a quorum in case other boardmembers can’t make the meeting,” said planning director LeeAnn Milligan.
After objections from the public, Montezuma County commissioners decided to hold candidates interviews for the planning-and-zoning board position in open session instead of in private.
The commission’s agenda stated the interviews would be held in private at 2 p.m., but the commissioners changed their mind after members of the public objected.
“As a voter and resident, I’m interested in the questions that will be asked and the candidates’ qualifications and positions to planning issues like zoning,” said David Long, of Cortez.
Audience member M.B. McAfee said there is nothing in Colorado open meetings law that exempts the planning board interviews from being held in public.
“The interviews are a matter of public concern and interest, and open meeting laws should be followed,” she said.
After hearing from the audience in the morning public comment session, the commissioners unanimously agreed to hold the interviews in public. The audience was asked to not make comments during the interviews.
The interview format had to be adjusted for public session. For fairness, candidates not being interviewed were be asked to wait outside the meeting room until it was their turn.
The county commission appoints members of the planning and zoning board. The candidates to be interviewed for the open board position are David Lindvall, Rob Pope, Stan Pierce and Ronny Hurst.
The appointed board member will replace Mike Gaddy, who relocated for employment reasons. Planning and zoning board terms are for three years.