Council to vote on appointments

By Tom Joyce -

The Mount Airy Board of Commissioners is scheduled to vote Thursday night on appointments and reappointments to four different groups in the city affecting books, alcohol, recycling and housing.

These include the Mount Airy Library Board, the city Recycling Advisory Committee, the Mount Airy ABC Board and the city housing authority.

• The housing authority, a group that oversees the public housing facilities in town, recently lost one of its members, Bertie S. George. She resigned on Aug. 4 for health reasons.

Jerry McMickle has been recommended by the remaining authority members to replace George. If approved by the commissioners during their meeting Thursday at 7 p.m., McMickle will serve out the remainder of her term that expires on Feb. 16, 2020.

• The Mount Airy Library Board likewise has lost a member recently. Cooper Adams’ term with that group expired in June, and he has elected not to seek reappointment.

Hattie Brintle has been proposed as Adams’ replacement, for a three-year term to expire on June 30, 2020.

Brintle is a partner in the local certified public accounting firm Samet, Payne, Wood, Horton and Company. Her previous volunteer roles have included serving on the boards of directors of the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce, American Red Cross and the local United Fund, which included chairing the 2001 fundraising campaign of the latter.

• One of the members of the Mount Airy ABC Board, which oversees the operation of the city’s liquor store on Starlite Road, Dr. Hugh Sutphin, is up for reappointment.

Sutphin’s term expires on Oct. 31, and he has expressed interest in continuing to serve. The commissioners will consider a new term for Sutphin Thursday night which will expire on that same date in 2020.

• The Mount Airy Recycling Advisory Committee has two members whose terms also are set to expire on Oct. 31.

Both Cindy Wilson and Tracy Greenwood have expressed interest in being reappointed to new terms that will end on that date in 2020.

The recycling group is one of Mount Airy’s newest advisory boards, which was formed in 2012 to increase awareness of and participation in the city’s curbside recycling program launched in January of that year.

On heels of debate

All the appointment/reappointment actions are scheduled to occur Thursday night as part of the consent agenda in which the city commissioners approve a series of items in a blanket vote with no discussion.

However, when last faced with a series of similar decisions — during their meeting on July 20 — Commissioner Shirley Brinkley asked that actions regarding the Mount Airy Appearance Commission be removed from the consent agenda for in-depth discussion.

Brinkley expressed a desire to have a broader selection of prospective appointees to consider, with Commissioner Jim Armbrister advocating changes that would ensure people from all walks of life and different parts of the city are involved.

This led to the development of a proposed new policy to require citizens to apply for vacancies on advisory boards or committees, as advertised on the city website and through social media.

The commissioners voted 5-0 to reject that idea at their last meeting on Sept. 7, with board members agreeing that qualified individuals who are willing to volunteer to serve on different groups aren’t always prone to fill out an application.

Council members decided to maintain the present appointment/reappointment procedure that involves an informal nominating process often through word of mouth.

At the same time, support was expressed for the municipal staff doing a better job of informing citizens about the volunteer opportunities as they arise. This will include announcing board or committee vacancies on the city website and social media outlets, and details on how interested persons can get involved.

By Tom Joyce

Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.

Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.

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