LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Some members of Louisville Metro Council are concerned with certain appointments to various boards and commissions.
Several concerns were raised at council’s committee on appointments meeting Thursday. Most of the issue centers around the Board of Zoning Appointments, or BOZA, and the planning commission.
BOZA and the Planning Commission both play important roles in development around Louisville. For instance, they both played a role in the approval of a plan to build a Walmart in Louisville’s west end. Meanwhile, The Planning Commission was responsible for striking down a plan aimed at creating a methane plant in West Louisville.
Right now, there are two members on BOZA whose terms expired in June of 2015. For the planning commission, there are five members who are serving with terms that expired anywhere from October 2013 to October 2015.
“There's no excuse for not having someone nominated and put forth to fill these,” said Councilwoman Julie Denton (R-19).
According to a letter from the Jefferson County Attorney’s Office to some members of Metro Council, legally, a vacancy on the Planning Commission or BOZA “can be created either through resignation prior to the end of term, removal by the appointing authority, or through expiration.”
For most of the more than 80 boards and commission in Louisville, the Mayor will appoint a member who meets certain qualifications. Metro Council will then approve or deny that appointment.
According to the Jefferson County Attorney’s Office, if an appointment is not made to fill a vacant position within 60 days by the Mayor’s office, the responsibility falls onto the Planning Commission.
That’s the case if there is a vacancy on either BOZA or the Planning Commission. In an email Thursday, Chris Poynter, a spokesperson for the Mayor, disputed the county attorney’s opinion that the 60 day statute applied to both BOZA and the Planning Commission saying it only applied to the Planning Commission.
“This is mind boggling,” said Metro Councilman Kelly Downard (R-16). “If someone is appointed for a three year term, it's not really three years. It’s forever. Unless they resign, at least as it's been in operation here. They just keep on going.”
Poynter said in an email on Thursday that he was unsure why appointments were never made for expired terms but he would check on it.
“I’m not saying that the Mayor is trying to do this but if a Mayor wanted to not fool with appointments coming over here, it would reward you,” said Councilman Rick Blackwell (D-12). “You can basically have appointments for life.”
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