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Bachman fills vacant seat on Ashland parks commission

Ashland City Council elected Jim Bachman Tuesday to fill the vacant seat on the Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission.

In January, the council directed APRC to solicit and evaluate applications and bring back three ranked candidates, including a finalist, according to City Manager Joe Lessard.

Nine candidates underwent evaluation, and each applicant was interviewed twice, with all commissioners involved, according to a letter dated March 3 by APRC Chair Rick Landt to City Council and the mayor. Interview questions related to applicants’ knowledge of APRC.

“All candidates were enthusiastic and intelligent,” the letter said. “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.”

After Bachman, APRC ranked Kerry KenCairn as the second candidate and Eric Hansen third.

Prior to the vote, City Council debated whether only the three ranked candidates would be included in the election, or all applicants.

City Attorney Katrina Brown, citing meeting minutes, said the council directed staff to bring only the top three candidates to the council for consideration.

Councilor Shaun Moran raised a potential conflict of interest regarding Bachman’s position on the Citizens’ Budget Committee.

Lessard said having an elected official other than city councilors — one who “represented a specific point of view in terms of city operations” — on the Budget Committee would be “inappropriate.”

“Since the Budget Committee recommends the budget of which parks gets a share, that is where there’s a potential conflict,” Brown said.

Following clarification that the appointee must be elected by council, Councilor Tonya Graham withdrew her motion to appoint Bachman to the vacant APRC position with the condition that he resign from the Budget Committee, and lacking his resignation, that the second-ranked candidate assume the appointment.

“The people of Ashland have voted in the other Ashland Parks and Recreation commissioners, so their recommendation is coming from an elected body,” Graham said. “I’m very comfortable with the council appointing Mr. Bachman, with the clarification that he may only serve in one of those two roles.”

Landt said he received a text from Bachman during the City Council meeting stating that he will resign from the Budget Committee.

Councilor Paula Hyatt made a motion for the election process to include the pool of three ranked candidates put forward by APRC. Councilors voted through the private virtual meeting chat to the city recorder. Bachman won the election with three votes, ahead of two votes for Hansen.

The council fulfilled its obligation to elect a qualified person before the expiration of a 60-day period to fill the seat: midnight April 1. Bachman will hold the seat until the next biennial election in November.