Friday, October 03, 2008

“This is not what we wanted, but it’s a start.”

First 391 SRPC meeting is heated


The Navasota Examiner
Copyright 2008

The first meeting of the Iola 391 Sub-Regional Planning Commission got off to a rocky start Tuesday morning at the courthouse annex, most of the questions centering on the appointment of local attorney and former county judge Lovett Boggess to the commission.

Grimes County commissioners in July approved joining the Iola 391 group and appointed Precinct 1 Commissioner John Bertling as the county’s representative.

Iola Mayor Christina Stover convened the meeting, reiterating that the Iola City Council believes the commission “is a worthy cause” and that Iola was not interested in such a commission if it creates another level of bureaucracy in the county.

Stover then nominated Boggess as an at-large member of Iola’s commission, which immediately sparked questions from those present about Boggess’ commitment to the commission.

Don Lemon asked to speak from the audience on behalf of the public, to which Stover replied, “We already know how the public feels.”

Bertling asked Boggess what his objection was to the commission, to which Boggess replied, “I can’t say I oppose it, but I do have questions. There are pros and cons to organizations of this type. It depends upon how it is conducted.”

Bertling asked Boggess if he would support the commission to other communities. Bogges replied he would have no objections but would want public input.

Mike Nevill said he thought there might be a conflict of interest in appointing Boggess if he represents any county or local governmental bodies in a professional capacity.
Several people at the meeting said Boggess had previously voiced disapproval of the commission. “Why set up a person opposed to it?” asked Nevill. “That won’t help the commission, and it sends a bad signal to start off.”

Stover insisted that since the commission is new, she thinks having someone to provide legal input is valuable.

Billie Lemon said she thought the commission should hear what the public has to say and that Stover need not be “antagonistic to us.”

Stover said if she had been defensive, she apologized.
Others questioned Boggess’ sincerity in serving on the commission, but in the end, Stover stuck with her nomination and said she would obtain clarification on the conflict of interest matter Nevill mentioned.
“If we decide we don’t want him, we can remove him,” said Bertling. “We’re trying to make the best of a bad deal. Let’s do something, even if it’s wrong. Let’s try to make it work.”
Stover then nominated herself to serve as the commission’s recording secretary and Bertling nominated himself to chair the commission. The two seconded their own motions.

The commission will meet again on Thursday, Oct. 30 at 9 a.m. in commissioners’ court chambers to consider by-laws for the commission and receive a ruling on Boggess status as a representative.

Nevill has already submitted by-laws for the commission to consider, but Bertling said he wanted time to review them before their adoption.

“This is not what we wanted, but it’s a start,” Bertling said.

© 2008 The Navasota

To search TTC News Archives click HERE

To view the Trans-Texas Corridor Blog click HERE