From the pages of
Pinedale Roundup
Volume 105, Number 30 - July 24, 2008
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Town Council seeks local applicants

by Jennie Oemig

After a nationwide search for candidates seeking to take over the position of planning and zoning administrator, which will be vacated by Meghan Jacquet at the end of the month, Town of Pinedale officials have decided to seek local applicants and leave the position vacant until that process is completed. “Even without the [July 14] executive session, we as a council just decided … that we weren’t comfortable with [the candidates] and decided to try it again,” Town Council member Nylla Kunard said.

Until a replacement is found, Kunard said the responsibilities that Meghan had will fall on other town employees like Engineer Eugene Ninnie.

“Somebody else will just have to pick it up until somebody else gets it,” she said. Though the Council did administer a nationwide search, Kunard said she was still hoping for someone more local to fill the position and is on board with the decision to advertise the position again.

“Personally I’m more comfortable with someone local because they know the country better,” she said. “ … and I was OK with seeking what else we could get.”

“It’s a town that needs planning, strong planning,” said Mike Jones, one of the candidates who had hopes of being brought on board to assist with town planning. One of two applicants for the position who visited Pinedale on July 8 and absolutely loved the town, Jones said he was astonished when he heard the decision the council had come to.

“When Steve called me [last Thursday] morning and told me that, I almost fainted,” he said.

Jones, who resides in Green Mountain Falls, Colo., said he was baffled as to why a town that is growing at the rate it is would want to hire an unskilled person to fill the planning and zoning administrator position. “It smells like a real fiefdom,” he said, referencing the latest population study done by the U.S. Census Bureau. “Pinedale leads the state in growth and they don’t need a [professional] planner? I find that somewhat difficult to believe.”

Even Meghan expressed her disagreement with the council’s decision in an e-mail message to Jones.

“I believe the Council is making a grave mistake, as well, and they will have to suffer the consequences for their actions and bring an entire community down with them,” she said in the message, adding that she wished she could have left the town with a qualified planner but failed.

Planning and Zoning Commission chair John Fogerty said he is not too keen on the decision that was made by the council either. “Personally, I think we need a professional,” he said.

At Monday night’s planning and zoning meeting, commission member Pam Curry said she would feel much better if someone experienced were hired to fill the position. “I think they should hire someone with a planning background,” she said.

Regardless of the reasoning behind the council’s decision, Jones said he felt as though town officials were not being sincere in abruptly ending their search. “I don’t like being jerked around,” he said. “I hate missed opportunities. They don’t come around that often. That’s why it’s called planning.”

Mayor Steve Smith did not return a phone call to comment on the council’s decision.

Stephen Crane contributed to this report.

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