Board rejects the Planning Commission’s recommendations and removes Hill
Please note: This is the final meeting of the 2013-2014 Board of County Commissioner administration.
Open Mic Session:
Commissioner-elect Cindy Riegel summarizes for the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) her thoughts after attending the December 9, 2014 Planning & Zoning Commission’s (PZC) discussion of the current attendance policy. Reigel says that the PZC called the 4-Meeting Rule “idiotic” and “ridiculous” and recommended that it be changed. “I want to encourage this board to seriously consider the recommendation by PZC. I think it’s important that you listen to their recommendation.”
Commissioner Kunz asks Riegel what she thinks of Hill’s March 1st, 2015 resignation. She says, “It’s appropriate for Shawn to resign in his own time. He wants to see something through, but will recuse himself in the mean time. To me that’s legitimate. I don’t think he should be on there indefinitely.”
Board Discussion of Attendance Policy:
County Planner Jason Boal then gave a summary of the recommendations made by the PZC, including changing the 4-Meeting Rule to a looser standard. Boal says that he did not bring an exact change to the text of the attendance ordinance, but his thoughts were to address it next month. Commissioner Rinaldi then made a MOTION to accept PZC’s recommendation that the 4-Meeting Rule change to a lower standard where commissioners can be removed if they miss 1/3 of meetings in a year.
Chairman Park says Rinaldi’s motion will die for lack of a second, saying “It should be this board’s decision.” He says that he would rather that the 4 Meeting Rule remain the same as it is.
Commissioner Kunz says he is fine with making the rule change moving forward, but does not want it applied first to Shawn Hill.
Rinaldi: “It was pretty clear that the consensus on PZC was that this was a dumb rule.”
Kunz: “I’m not going to back down on this. It’s going to be tough to write a code that makes people happy anyways. He feels that Shawn will influence the new code as one of nine members of the PZC. “Two and a half years ago, was the first time that I met Anna Trentadue and she was standing up here trying to sell the Comp Plan for VARD. So that tells me one thing. If VARD is trying to sell it, then they must believe in it, which means there’s a big portion of the community that doesn’t believe in it. I apologize if it has to come down to cause, but I don’t care what you say about it.”
Rinaldi: “But it’s democracy Sid. You can’t just squelch a voice because you don’t agree with it. This is so petty. We brought this fight here. We should accept Shawn’s resignation as of March 1st.”
County Attorney Kathy Spitzer reminds the BOCC that they won’t be able to fill Hill’s seat before March 1, 2015 anyways, even if they begin the selection process now.
Rinaldi says that the PZC unanimously wanted the rule changed. “The absence policy does not work.” She says the BOCC is using the absence policy as a “tool” to get rid of Hill, whom they disagree with, personally. She says the BOCC has never previously been concerned with other PZC members’ attendance records.
Chairman Park disagrees that it is personal: “I asked our staff what our attendance were (sic) twice.”
Rinaldi: “But Kelly, what started this conversation in the first place? You have never looked at attendance before”
Chairman Park: “Shawn Hill.”
Kunz agreed: “I don’t mind being in the newspaper on this. I don’t read that paper anyways. I don’t think anyone should if they want the facts.”
Rinaldi expressed concern that the County’s attendance records were incomplete: “So the reason this is going the way that I think it’s going is based on inconsistent attendance records. You’re going on loose numbers. I don’t think that’s going to help this community.”
Chairman Park: “I’m trying to do this respectful (sic) to a person who has served this community. If there’s an absentee problem in this community, then it’s our discretion to discuss it at that time.”
Rinaldi: “But our staff didn’t know they had to keep exact attendance records, and there are question marks next to people’s attendance. You have incomplete records based on people’s memory and recollection about whether they were at the meeting not.”
Chairman Park: “Yeah, I seen (sic) those question marks. Shawn has one too.”
Kunz: “It’s a serious problem. Everyone has weighed in. Shawn should have stepped down.”
Rinaldi: “I agree with you Sid. Shawn should have resigned. But you can’t force him like this. It isn’t right. What you are doing is wrong.”
Kunz: “And I’ll just go back to the Comp Plan when I had to sit here and meet Anna Trentadue…..
VARD Program Director and Staff Attorney Anna Trentadue then asks to clarify the record. She takes the stand and says that she served as a citizen volunteer on the Economic Development Comp Plan Committee. The Comp Plan had over 60 citizen volunteers who put in over 1,800 volunteer hours. Part of that time was spent volunteering at workshops, open houses, and forums.
Chairman Park: “With the absences, that’s due cause right there. I’m going to make a MOTION to remove Shawn Hill and replace him with one of our other three other applicants.”
Rinaldi exclaimed: “But you said we were going to open the selection process back up, Kelly! You said you would take applications again for an open selection.”
Chairman Park shook his head: “No we never said that.”
Kunz agreed: “Yeah. We never decided that. Besides, this isn’t about this being my last meeting or whatever. Everyone has weighed in on this. Shawn should have resigned. I’m trying to right a wrong here.”
Rinaldi: “I don’t believe in righting a wrong with another wrong, Sid. Think about if the tables were turned, you guys. I think it’s valuable to have diverse voices on the board. And it’s only two months.”
Chairman Park: “It’s a rule that has been implemented.”
Prosecutor Kathy Spitzer then clarified Park’s statement: “No. It’s a rule that’s never been implemented.”
To this, Kunz exclaimed: “Why are you even talking right now, Kathy!? I don’t even understand where you are coming from right now. You told me missing 4 meetings is grounds for removal.”
Prosecutor Spitzer: “I’m just clarifying that you’ve never implemented this rule before.”
Then, Chairman Park’s MOTION to remove Hill and immediately fill his seat with a prior applicant passes 2:1 with Rinaldi dissenting.
Chairman Park then says that he has already spoken to all three recent PZC applicants, and they are willing to serve.
- Ryan Colyer, local biologist
- Bud Surles, development consultant
- Roy Moulton, land use attorney
Rinaldi cites her concern that this is the last meeting of this administration: “I don’t think it’s this purview of this board to fill this position right now, given the timing.”
Chairman Park: “I think this is something that should be on our plate.”
Rinaldi: “So you want to fill it now?”
Chairman Park: “Absolutely.”
Rinaldi says that she would prefer to re-appoint Ryan Colyer because of his years of experience already serving on the PZC and the fact that he is a professional biologist. (In October, the BOCC went against the PZC’s recommendation and staff recommendation by declining to re-appoint Colyer to his seat, replacing him with former Commissioner Candidate and publisher of the Teton Valley Conservative Voice, Ron Moeller instead.)
Kunz says he originally supported appointing Roy Moulton, but now he realizes Moulton is controversial, and instead supports Bud Surles to replace Hill.
Chairman Park says he has already spoke to all 3 applicants: “All three were very willing to serve this community.”
Kunz makes a MOTION to appoint Bud Surles, which is seconded by Chairman Park. Kunz says he’s already read Surles’ resume and spoke to Surles a couple of days ago.
Rinaldi: “So you both have already talked to Surles? Then, you guys obviously talked outside of the meeting about how this is going to go in advance. Our entire record says we were going to open this process up.”
Kunz countered: “There was no coordination here.”
Rinaldi: “So how did you both know to call Bud Surles just last week when our plan until now was to open the hiring get back up?”
To which Kunz exclaimed passionately: “Don’t accuse me of doing things Kathy!”
Rinaldi: “But our entire previous record of discussion was about opening the appointment back up.”
Kunz then says since he’s probably going “to get hit with another FOIA for this” he clarifies for the record that he called Bud Surles as a part of his effort to proactively explore other options for people to replace Shawn.
Kunz’s MOTION to appoint Surles passes 2:1 with Rinaldi abstaining. She says that she did not know enough about Surles to vote on him. Kunz says “Well, you should have called him and talked to him, Kathy” Rinaldi again states that the BOCC’s previous plan had been to open the PZC selection process back up, and so she had no inkling to contact Surles.
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