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New development board put on hold

Appointees meet privately, then decline being sworn in

Staff writer

On the night a new board was to be sworn in for Marion County Community Economic Development Corporation, all five proposed board members declined to be sworn in, saying they wanted another week to think about it.

County appointees David Mueller, Chris Hernandez, and Chase Gann, as well as Peabody appointees Mark Whitney and Hannah Bourbon, sat through words of welcome and remarks on the occasion from interim chairman Russell Groves, through a motion to approve the transition to a new board, and listened to interim board member Tammy Ensey review a policy book and informational packet.

Then Hernandez suggested all proposed new board members talk “off the record” before accepting appointment to the board.

All five left the room, and for about 20 minutes, interim board members Jim Hefley, Groves, Jared Jost, Judy Mills, and Ensey, along with Marion economic development director Randy Collett and Hillsboro economic development director Anthony Roy, paced, chatted, drummed on a table and waited.

When the appointees returned to the room, Gann was the first to speak.

“Kent Becker appointed me,” Gann said. “I want a little more time. I’m not comfortable being seated.”

“Are you declining?” Groves asked.

“I’m not declining at this time,” Gann said. “I just ask for more time.”

Mark Whitney also said he wanted more time to consider serving on the board.

Bourbon said all five want to be sure the corporation is set for success before committing time to it.

“I was so excited to come and learn,” Bourbon said. “I just want time to think.”

Bourbon said she’d rather wait for Marion and Hillsboro to appoint board members.

“It sounds like that might not happen in a week,” Bourbon said.

So far, both towns have declined to appoint board members, although Marion city administrator Roger Holter, an interim board member, was earlier to remain on the permanent board after a bylaw change later revoked.

“We’re not sure what the next step is,” Whitney said.

“I think we’re all in agreement that we come back in a week and have more discussion,” Hernandez said.

“So the position of each of the five of you is, you are not yet ready to accept?” Groves asked.

The five nodded.

Ensey moved to recess until Tuesday.

“I’m prepared to pass a motion to dissolve this corporation,” Groves said.

“I’m not ready to second that,” Ensey answered.

The interim board voted four to one, with Groves opposed, to meet again in a week.

Last modified Oct. 12, 2017

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