Medford attorney Timothy Jackle's experience with city local government helped convince a five-member committee to recommend him for an open City Council position.
"I think he has a considerable head start on the others," said committee Chairman Gene Pelham.The committee ranked the three candidates in the following order: Timothy Jackle, who has served on the Medford Planning Commission for 10 years; Philip Iantosca, previous owner of the Honey Baked Ham Store; and Kimberly Gobel, director of marketing of Veranda Park.
Since the ranking is just a recommendation, the City Council will make its own decision at a later time about which candidate to choose.
The committee liked the business background Iantosca brought, but felt he was lacking in exposure to government committees and processes.
Gobel was smart and a quick study, but the committee didn't think she was prepared enough for the interview. The committee agreed with Gobel's own assessment of herself that she is "green."
Committee member Beverly Layer said she agreed that Jackle was the most knowledgeable but thought he was too focused on land-use issues.
Former councilor Jim Kuntz, who was on the committee, said he thought it was important to have a candidate with a strong land-use background, noting that the city has run afoul of the state Land Use Board of Appeals previously.
"It has cost us a lot of money," he said.
Al Densmore, who was on the committee and stepped down from the council about a month ago, said, "There is no perfect candidate."
He said he asked himself the question, "Who is the most ready?"
Jackle's land-use strengths will serve the city well for the next two to three years as the economy picks up, Densmore said.
Jackle, who is chairman of the Planning Commission, told the committee that when the economy begins to rebound, land-use issues will take center stage.
He said now is the time to tackle issues such as determining where the city should grow and how to refine land-use policies.
"It's an opportunity to roll up our sleeves and get it done," he said.
Iantosca told the committee that he understands the challenges of small businesses and thought the city was poised to attract more technologically oriented businesses.
He said he acknowledged that he probably didn't have the most experience in government but said he brings years of experience working with corporations and businesses.
"When I take on a task, I work very hard for it," he said.
Gobel said she didn't bring much experience in government but is very interested in the community. She said she didn't have a clear understanding of all the issues facing the city.
"I'm very green," she said. "When I do something, I am very passionate about it, and very focused."
Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or firstname.lastname@example.org.