Plan commission remains intact
By Emily Bialkowski
A request from Houston County Commissioner Justin Zmyewski to not re-appoint Terry Rosendahl as a citizen member of the plan commission – and instead fill the slot with another commissioner – fell dead after Environmental Services Director Rick Frank and Zoning Administrator Bob Scanlan asked the board to consider Rosendahl’s experience.
Zmyewski made the request because Rosendahl, “has been insubordinate and not easy to work with. There’s a lot of back talk and unprofessional conduct.”
Zmyewski said he’d also like to see Charles Wieser off the commission for similar reasons.
But Frank and Scanlan said their experience would be sorely missed.
“When you’re looking at the zoning ordinance itself and implementing it, it does take a lot of time. It’s not an ordinance you can grasp overnight,” Frank said.
Zmyewski said, however, that fresh blood would be a good thing. “I do disagree that just because someone has been there a long time that they’re the right person,” he said.
“With all do respect, Mr. Chairman, it is not an easy position to sit on. They’re getting scrutinized on every decision they make. In the past half dozen years we’ve been challenged on many decisions. They’ve been hammered on and attended many a meeting that wasn’t pretty. We should be able to disagree,” Frank said.
“That is what I’m talking about,” Zmyewski interjected. He said he didn’t think Rosendahl and Wieser handle dissenting opinions well.
“Because of conflicts there is a tendency to react – the communication is not going on as it should be,” Frank admitted.
After reviewing the commission’s bylaws, it was determined only one county board commissioner can sit on the plan commission. It was also determined that the commission aims to keep representation from all corners of the county.
Zmyewski said he intends to stay on the plan commission, “to make sure things are being conducted properly,” and the board voted to re-appoint both Rosendahl and Wieser.
The conversation was certainly civil yet tense, with several individuals expressing their thoughts.
Commissioner Judy Storlie said, “I’m a newbie, but I think everything will run better as a team. I come from a team player background where we don’t pit people against each other. We need to keep it open so things don’t get too hostile.”
Scanlan said, “Maybe we’ll work on that. We’ll work on better communication both ways.”
And resident Donna Buckbee said she thought it is really critical that, “citizens be treated respectfully… and that hasn’t happened.”
In other business, Zmyewski suggested the board create and adhere to a set of goals for the coming year.
“It’s to make sure we’re on track and not hustling at the end of the year,” he said. “They’re goals to have in the back of our heads when decisions are made and things come up.”
He presented a draft set of ideas on paper, which were greeted with varying degrees of enthusiasm.
“The only problem I have with this is as a board we should form our goals. This feels like Justin is telling us our goals. It needs to be teamwork when forming the goals. If I’m a part of group I want to be part of forming goals,” Storlie said.
Zmyewski said his ideas were just a starting point to be added or subtracted from. They included a goal related to board members having intimate knowledge of the topics at hand, and not just an opinion, as well as a goal to replenish $150,000 of the general fund in 2013.
Human Resources Director Tess Arrick-Krueger said she brought the idea of strategic planning to the board in 2009 and welcomes such efforts.
“A strategic plan is a process well worth your while and time, though some people scoff at it,” she said. “It involves developing goals based on intentional preliminary work. It’s results orientated and creates data-based decision making.
“I welcome this process, and I’m very disappointed this county hasn’t been willing to take this on,” Arrick-Krueger said.
She volunteered to make a 30-minute presentation on the process, having been trained to do so, and the board agreed it would be worth hearing about.
Arrick-Krueger cautioned the board not to rush into setting goals without information and research. She said the process needs to be inclusive.
“We do have resources here to get that kicked off the ground at no additional cost to the county other than that of your time.”
With that, the board agreed to a presentation on strategic planning at a future meeting.