The Olympia Planning Commission met yesterday, Feb. 14., to discuss its list of candidates to recommend to the city council for its vacant seat.
Commissioners raised several points of consideration in choosing a candidate to endorse. The commission’s role is to provide advice to the city council on the city’s long-term growth.
Chairperson Zainab Nejati’s main concern is finding someone who can devote “15 to 30 hours” a month for the commission. The role pays a stipend of $25 per meeting attended; those who certify as low-income are eligible to receive a stipend of $50 per meeting attended. The increased compensation is designed as a way to reduce barriers to community-member participation, according to the Advisory Committee application form.
“I want someone who’s willing to commit,” Nejati said.
Comm’r. Carole Richmond preferred one applicant based on Richmond’s preference to avoid gentrification in the community; she preferrs another for the candidate’s background in disabilities.
A master’s degree in public administration was a commonality in Comm’r. Candi Miller’s choices, with a knowledge in affordable housing also coming into her attention.
Comm’r. Aaron Sauerhoff said he agreed with the other commissioner’s thoughts when he made his pick.
Comm’r. Greg Quetin wanted diversity, with his recommendations based on the applicant’s potential to bring other points of view. He said he was also looking for someone who can bring input on the elderly, access for the disabled, and climate, among others.
Richmond raised her concern that the commission may become fixated on identifying candidates who have a background in housing issues, when it also has other issues to consider.
Vice. Chair Tracey Carlos and Commissioners Tammy Adams, Rad Cunningham were absent during the meeting.
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