Councilmen and Mayor Spar Over Planning Commission Changes

NORFOLK — Three new members of the Norfolk Planning commission are officially in their posts after Monday’s City Council meeting but their approval didn’t come without debate.

The Council approved Norfolk Mayor Josh Moenning’s recommendations 6-2 with Councilmen Jim Lange and Gary Jackson voting against the appointments.  The action replaced the three commissioners with expiring terms with three new faces who debuted in the Commission’s meeting on Tuesday.

Moenning says the move is about bringing fresh ideas to the Commission.

“Bringing new perspectives, new experiences to a planning commission like this is important,” Moenning said.  “I think new blood, fresh ideas, new perspectives is a good thing.”

Lange thinks the change is too much over too little time as another commissioner was replaced after resigning last year.

“We’re throwing in half of the board in less than four months of any experience in it,” Lange said.  “I think that’s awful drastic.”

 Jackson says the changes, along with recent city staff turnover, has resulted in unrest.

“No matter whether you do a good job or not, it seems like you can just walk in and say, ‘you’re done,’” Jackson said.

Lange also accused the mayor of rushing the appointment process.

“I think we’re throwing an awful lot of experience out – on my consideration of not much thought (put into it),” Lange said.

Moenning says he talked with the three new commissioners for months about joining the board gave the old commissioners proper notice.

Billy Coby, Dirk Waite and Dr. Zachary Gangwer are replacing Brian Lundy, Barb Marsh and Sue Beckmann.

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