The City of Guthrie is always searching for citizens to serve on advisory boards and commissions, but all five citizens looking to volunteer their time did not receive unanimous decision by the council. In fact, two were denied, including a sitting board chairman.
On Tuesday, the city council considered to fill vacancies on the Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), Planning Commission and the Board of Adjustment.
The CVB currently holds three at-large vacancies on the seven member board.
Mayor Steve Gentling recommended Kailyn Swonger, who has served for one year and is the current chairman of the board, and Sarah Mathes for the two at-large positions. A total of three applicants had applied.
“All three were great candidates,” Gentling said of the nominees.
Councilmember James Long asked the council if they could split the nominations into two votes saying he wanted to vote yes for Mathes but no against Swonger.
Long explained to the council as to why he would not support Swonger. Guthrie News Page has elected not to put that information in this article, but it can be viewed in the video published above.
“I personally have a problem,” Long said of the Swonger nominee.
After several back-and-forth arguments on the protocol of the agenda item, each candidate were voted upon separately.
Long made a motion to approve Mathes but the motion died for a lack of a second to deny Mathes.
Next, Councilman Jim Case made a motion to accept Swonger and was seconded by Councilman Jeff Taylor. The vote tallied 3-3 denying Swonger to the board. Yes votes came from Gentling, Taylor and Case with no votes coming from Long, Councilman Brian Bothroyd and Councilman Don Channel.
Next, the council considered Abe Ghassempour to fill an unexpired term to the planning commission. Ghassempour was the lone applicant.
The council voted 5-1 to approve the nomination with Long casting the lone no vote.
The final decision by the council was for one of the two vacancies for the Board of Adjustment.
Guthrie Planning Director Dan Kassik informed the council that the board needs two more members to even consider variances.
“Per our code it requires a minimum of four for any action. Technically, right now even if we had a variance we could not entertain one because we don’t have enough members on the board of adjustment.”
Bothroyd made the motion to approve Kenneth Ewer and was second by Case. The final vote showed a 4-2 approval with Bothroyd, Case, Gentling and Taylor voting yes and Channel and Long voting no.
If you would like to serve on a City board or commission to be more directly involved you can apply on the City’s website.