Can we afford to turn away volunteers?

Marion City Council put an end to the question of whether Diana Holub would be reappointed to the Board of Zoning Appeals, passing a resolution declaring her “unqualified and/or not fit to hold the position,” despite three council members saying for months that they didn’t have a problem except for her being on both the Board of Zoning Appeals and Planning Commission simultaneously. Holub was appointed to the Planning Commission on Jan. 7.

It isn’t really a case of them changing their tune, though. State law requires that someone be found unqualified or unfit to serve on a board if a council rejects an appointment by the mayor. So they didn’t really mean it when they put into the permanent record that Holub is unqualified or unfit to serve on a board she had previously served on.

Finding interested volunteers to serve on appointed boards can often be a challenge. When you have someone who is interested and knowledgeable about a subject, it’s a good idea to hold on to that volunteer. The city still has a vacancy on the Board of Zoning Appeals. Will it be able to fill the vacancy with someone who is as experienced and engaged in planning and zoning matters as Holub? That depends on whether such a person is available and willing to serve.

Too often civic engagement is in short supply. Just look to Tuesday’s school board elections to see that. Marion and Centre school boards had enough candidates to fill the boards, but there weren’t any contested races, any choices for voters. Lincolnville and Lost Springs had no candidates filed for their city elections, and Florence had one council seat with no candidates.

Can we afford to turn away people who are willing to take public scrutiny and want to help make their community a better place?

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Congratulations to all the newly elected and re-elected members of Marion and Centre school boards and Florence, Tampa, and Ramona city councils, and thank you to all of the candidates.

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Despite some lingering dampness from the previous night’s rain, turnout was great for the Easter egg hunt Saturday morning at Central Park. The excitement on children’s faces was worth the time spent filling plastic eggs with candy and spreading them throughout the park.

— ADAM STEWART

 

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