Montgomery council receives 128 applications for interim planning board
Montgomery County Council received 128 applications from residents to become temporary planning board members after the entire five-member council resigned last week amid scandals.
The county council plans to interview the finalists at its Tuesday meeting and appoint the interim board on Oct. 27, council spokeswoman Sonya Healy said. These members will serve until a new county council to be elected in November and sworn in in December selects a permanent council. The application deadline was 5 p.m. Tuesday.
The entire board resigned on October 12 at the council’s insistence after weeks of review that began after an internal investigation found the board chairman had kept and shared alcohol in the office of his agency and that two members had accepted a drink from him. Allegations followed that the president had created a “toxic” work environment by using misogynistic language and that another board member had concocted the allegations to secure the position of president.
Four members abruptly fired the nationally recognized director of the planning department without explanation a day after she defended the board chair on a local television station.
The council, which is considered highly influential in a county where development and land use issues often dominate political discussions, approves individual development proposals. It also recommends to council detailed master plans that set out how communities should develop and manage the county’s park system.
Council members said they would seek interim board members who represent the county’s racial and ethnic diversity, as well as residents from different parts of the county with experience in land use planning. .
The council oversees 955 planning and parks department employees and the agencies’ combined $150 million annual operating budgets. The job of the president, who is full-time, brings in $215,000 annually, while the other members, who are part-time, earn $30,000 each.