For a while it seemed that current mayor William Hallenbeck would achieve through inaction what former mayor Rick Scalera always threatened: to eliminate the Historic Preservation Commission. According to Chapter 169-3 of the city code, "the Commission shall consist of seven members," but for nearly a year, since Scott Baldinger resigned at the end of August 2013, the HPC has had only six members, and crisis was approaching. At the end of this month, on July 31, 2014, the terms of three members--David Voorhees, Tony Thompson, and Jack Alvarez--expire, potentially leaving a commission made up of only three members: Rick Rector, Phil Forman, and Peggy Polenberg. Because four affirmative votes are required to pass a motion, an HPC with only three members would be unable to function. Addressing this situation on July 11, city attorney Carl Whitbeck advised the HPC members whose terms were expiring that they could, if they were willing, continue in office until the mayor had appointed their replacements.
Crisis, however, seems to have been averted. At last Friday's meeting, it was revealed that the mayor appointed Miranda Barry to the HPC and has reappointed David Voorhees as the HPC's historian member. That makes five. Tony Thompson has requested reappointment, but the mayor has not yet rendered a decision. It is not clear if Jack Alvarez, the architect member, whose contribution is most important in informing the HPC's decision making, will seek or be granted reappointment.
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