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Orem council votes for change in selecting Planning Commission members

By Genelle Pugmire - | Jan 12, 2022

Courtesy Orem City

Orem city crews finish trimming the city building in preparation for the Lights On celebration in this file photo from 2015.

An ordinance change on how members of the Orem Panning Commission are selected was passed by resolution during Orem’s Tuesday city council meeting.

The vote was a five to two decision, with Mayor Dave Young, David Spencer, Terry Petersen and LaNae Millett and Jeff Lambson voting in favor of the resolution. Councilmembers Tom Macdonald and Debby Lauret cast the no votes.

Young’s reasoning focused on how the planning commission was a legislative body and should be a part of the legislative team with the city council.

Spencer also noted, “In the past year the planning commission has been quite rude to the citizens of Orem. To call them statistically insignificant is wrong.”

Millett said she believes the planning commission should consist of people who are qualified and understand land issues. With the resolution there will be good representation, she added.

Prior to Tuesday’s resolution, the city manager would look at the commission applications and select worthy candidates for recommendation, then submit those names to the city council for approval. The resolution takes that out of the city manager’s hands and commission applicants will be directly reviewed by the mayor and city council.

“It is important to remember that Orem is made up of a lot of different people with different opinions,” Lambson said. He was concerned that a variety of volunteer voices would be heard from the commission.

In presenting the resolution, it indicates that the council finds this change request in the best interest of the city.

The ordinance took effect immediately after the vote. It appears the council has already received applications for commission positions. Those who are interested can find application forms for this commission and other commissions and committees in the city at their website.

The resolution also states that any member of the planning commission may be removed from office by the mayor, with the advice and consent of the council.

While the resolution gives several reasons for the removal of a commissioner from the commission, the one significant portion states that, “a member’s office automatically becomes vacant if the member misses more than 25% of the commission’s scheduled meetings during a 12 month period.”

The resolution also states that commission members serve without monetary compensation, but may be compensated for reasonable expenses incurred by official responsibilities, if approved by the mayor.

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