Interest in serving on the Spokane Valley Planning Commission is apparently high. Twelve people submitted applications for two vacant positions, so many that Mayor Tom Towey has taken the unusual step of interviewing each candidate before making his recommendation for the seats.
“We’ve got some really good people applying,” Towey said. “I’m in the process right now. It’s been a good experience for me. It gives me an insight I can’t get out of an application.”
Towey said he is asking each one about their qualifications and what they think the job entails. Members of the planning commission hold public hearings on zoning issues and other topics and make a recommendation to the City Council to approve or deny it. “A lot of them don’t understand what the job is,” he said. “I want to know exactly what their vision for the future is.”
The term of planning commissioner Steven Neill is expiring and he is one of the 12 applicants. Commissioner Joe Mann has decided not to seek reappointment. Towey will make his recommendations to fill the three-year terms to the City Council, which must confirm his appointments.
Those applying include: Stephen Bishop, president of Bishop Sign Systems; Joseph Cucinotta, former cargo planning manager; Lewis Higgins, former City Council candidate and retired executive director of the International Society of Mine Safety Professionals; Deanna Hormann, a retired self-employed accountant; Melvin Jones, a freelance writer and volunteer; and incumbent Steven Neill, a distribution specialist at Office Max.
Additional applicants are: Kris Nowell, a controller with Lydig Construction; Penny Simonson, an educator with the Washington State University Extension Master Gardener program; Bill Stallcop, a former transportation manager and current SCOPE volunteer; George Watson, project director and partner with Watson and Herres Architectural Firm; Ross Windhorst, a building engineer at Gonzaga University; and Sam Wood, a self-employed real estate appraiser.
The mayor is scheduled to present his recommendations to the council at its Dec. 27 meeting.