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APRC selects candidates to fill parks vacancy

Andy Atkinson / Daily TidingsAshland City Hall.

The Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission approved Jim Bachman Wednesday as its top candidate to fill the vacancy left by APRC Commissioner Mike Gardiner’s resignation in January.

A quorum of three commissioners unanimously voted to send a list of three ranked candidates to Ashland City Council: Bachman, Kerry KenCairn and Eric Hansen.

The City Council Jan. 31 directed staff to work with parks officials to develop a pool of candidates for APRC to vet before forwarding its top three candidates to council for consideration.

Eleven people submitted applications to the city recorder and two later withdrew, according to Parks Director Michael Black.

Parks staff arranged interviews with the applicants, conducted by two panels of two commissioners each, a staff report said. Each candidate was interviewed by both panels.

“All candidates were enthusiastic and intelligent,” APRC Chair Rick Landt told City Council Wednesday. “Mr. Bachman stood out due to his City/APRC-related experience, understanding of budget considerations, and his considerable knowledge of how APRC works and interfaces with the city.”

In a motion, commissioners unanimously recommended Bachman, with the other two candidates listed as required.

Parks commissioners are elected officers per Article 3 of the city charter, which states that vacancies must be filled within 60 days by the City Council selecting a qualified person. Gardiner resigned from Position No. 3 — a term lasting through Dec. 31. Once approved by the council, the appointee’s term of office takes effect immediately.

Landt said the screening process included a written application consistent with the Voter’s Pamphlet that all candidates running for office complete. Commissioners interviewed all nine candidates and scored each candidate.

“Very consistent even though this was done independently,” Landt said of the results.

Commissioner Jim Lewis said Bachman’s time on the Citizens’ Budget Committee, interest exhibited by a previous run for an APRC seat, and regular attendance at meetings showed “he has put in his due diligence” and “would be a very easy fit immediately upon his first meeting.”

“On my ratings, Jim Bachman was head and shoulders above the other candidates,” Lewis said.

Bachman’s term with the Citizens’ Budget Committee started in February 2019 and lasts through June 30, according to the city website.

“It was very clear that Jim Bachman has deeply studied and thought about the issues that APRC is facing, is very familiar with them; his breadth of experience in Ashland city government, and in the Budget Committee was very impressive,” Commissioner Leslie Eldridge said.

Eldridge left the special meeting due to travel considerations in severe weather, postponing discussion of Calle Guanajuato fees to the regular business meeting March 9 for lack of a quorum. Commissioner Julian Bell was absent.