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City Council appoints Vision Commission

Tuesday, December 16, 2008 | 7:38 p.m. CST; updated 7:58 p.m. CST, Tuesday, December 16, 2008

COLUMBIA — The City Council used paper ballots Monday evening to appoint nine of 23 applicants to the Columbia Vision Commission.

The commission, which will keep track of Imagine Columbia’s Future report, consists of seven coordinating members and two resource members. But an ordinance that went through a first read on Monday would switch the two resource members to coordinating committee members.

“The original plan was to have seven members on the regular commission and up to five resource members that would vote. I guess on second thought, we thought why don’t we just have nine members and let them appoint resource people?” said Mayor Darwin Hindman.

If the amendments to the ordinance are accepted, the commission would consist of nine members, and the resource members would no longer be allowed to vote. Also, the coordinating committee, not the council, would select the resource committee.

The council is trying to pick resources for a group when it doesn’t know what resources the group needs, said Fifth Ward Councilwoman Laura Nauser.

The commission will be advisory to the council and will prod the council along to make sure it pays attention to both the report and results of the visioning process, Hindman said.

The council conducted the last of 10 interviews Monday. During applicant Dan Goldstein’s interview, he stressed that the city already has resources in place.

“I can see a vision commission facilitating communication between organizations — those are the resource people," Goldstein said. "They are already experts in certain areas.”

The council decided to vote using paper ballots that are available to the public instead of using the typical roll-call approach. Hindman said a roll-call vote would be too cumbersome while appointing nine people. At the suggestion of City Clerk Sheela Amin, each member received nine unranked votes. First Ward Councilman Paul Sturtz agreed and said there were too many variables to vote another way.

Commission members appointed for 4- and 5-year terms were selected unanimously, and those selected for the 3-year term and the resource members received six votes each. Term lengths were decided through discussion based on which candidates received the most votes.

“We got through that with amazing grace,” Hindman said following the appointments. But there are many qualified people who applied and were not appointed, he said.

“We had a lot of great candidates. Our problem was trying to choose among great candidates,” Hindman said. “And that turned out to be kind of tough. We have a lot of people who applied who didn’t make it. It wasn’t because they weren’t qualified and they weren’t good.”

Although the first meeting of the commission isn’t scheduled yet, the commission must identify how it will measure progress and put together annual reports by March 31.


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