City Council appointed 11 people to the several city’s boards and commissions on Tuesday.
Among the appointments were new members to the Harbor, Planning and Parks, Beaches & Recreation commissions.
“The pool of applicants is getting stronger and stronger, I think, each time we go through the cycle,” Mayor Rush Hill said. “It’s getting tougher and tougher to make the decisions.”
There were three open seats on the Harbor Commission.
Incumbents Duncan McIntosh and Douglas West were unanimously reappointed.
William Kenney, Jr. earned the third open spot with votes from Hill, Mayor Pro Tem Ed Selich, and council members Tony Petros and Leslie Daigle.
Kenney is a 41-year resident of Newport Beach and CEO of The Kenney Company, a commercial real estate business. He was a board member for the Promontory Bay Community Association between 1999-2012. He has dealt with city staff and elected officials during his career, he wrote in his application.
“Newport Beach is a great city. We are fortunate to have a world class harbor,” Kenney wrote. “My goal is to be a part of a team that enhances Newport Harbor and thus the entire city of Newport Beach.”
Councilmen Mike Henn and Keith Curry voted for Thomas Dessel and Councilwoman Nancy Gardner for Patricia Humphreys. John Drayton had also been nominated.
During consent calendar public comment at the beginning of the meeting, David Quesada also asked to throw his captain’s hat into the ring for a Harbor Commission spot.
Hill later briefly explained the application process, noting that there is a cut off date for interested parties to apply.
Resident and city watchdog Jim Mosher also spoke during public comment before the vote, asking the council members to consider all the applicants and not automatically vote for the incumbent.
“I wanted to point to you how frustrating the practice of reappointing incumbents can be to those members of the public, the many qualified applicants you get, who may want to participate more fully in pubic service by being appointed to one of these boards or commissions,” said Mosher, who described himself as a “perennially unsuccessful candidate” for some of the same positions that were open on Tuesday.
That was not always the case on Tuesday, with several incumbents were not reappointed.
Retired real estate developer and business owner Peter Koetting beat out incumbent Fred Ameri for the single vacancy on the Planning Commission.
Koetting was partner and owner at Westar Associates in Costa Mesa from 1980 to 2014. Before moving to Newport Beach 31 years ago, he worked as a planner for the city of Palm Springs, and Petersburg, Va., and Roanoke, Va., in the 1970s. Koetting also served on the Corona del Mar High School Foundation board of directors and as president and board member of Big Canyon Country Club.
“It would be my pleasure, now retired, to serve the city of Newport Beach on the Planning Commission,” he wrote in his application.
Ameri was appointed in 2010 and served one term.
Henn, Petros, Gardner and Selich voted for Koetting. Daigle, Curry and Hill for Ameri. Also nominated was Albert Marshall.
Parks, Beaches & Recreation Commission had two vacancies, both filled by incumbents Thomas Anderson and Ron Cole in a 6-1 vote for each. Curry was the dissenting vote for William Hossfeld and Erik Weigand.
The Building and Fire Board of Appeals also had two vacancies. Incumbent Stephen Sandland was unanimously reappointed. The second seat went to Jay Elbettar, who won the majority vote from Henn, Petros, Gardner and Daigle. Curry and Selich voted for John De Frenza and Hill for Nourmohammadi Khorow
Jeffrey Herdman was appointed to the only seat available on the Civil Service Board, with Henn, Gardner, Daigle and Selich making up the majority. Linda Beimfohr earned votes from Petros, Curry and Hill. William Bivens was also nominated.
Council unanimously voted for incumbents Judy Chang on the Arts Commission and Jerry King on the Board of Library Trustees.
Also nominated were Lesley Miller and Joan Templeton-Morris for Arts Commission, and Roxana Mehrfar for the Library Board.
Hill encouraged those who were not appointed to keep their application current and keep applying.
Seats do occasionally open up for reasons other than being termed out, he pointed out, resignations and changing of positions also create vacancies.
Councilman Mike Henn also pointed out that those interested can fill out an application at any time, it will stay on file and they will be notified if there is a vacancy.
A screening committee, which Hill, Selich and Gardner all participated on, narrowed down the applicants for nominations.
It’s also about considering the board or commission as a whole, Gardner pointed out.
“(It’s about asking ourselves) ’Where are our gaps? What particular skill set can we use this time around that we may not have had,” Gardner said.
All new terms will be effective on July 1, with an expiration date of June 30, 2018.