For nearly two hours Thursday, Jan. 3, Anderson’s five-member city council met in special session to grill four applicants seeking to fill two open seats on the city’s five-member Planning Commission.
The 6 p.m. meeting concluded at 7:40 p.m., according to Deputy City Clerk Brenda Hicken.
Council members Susie Baugh and Melissa Hunt will each recommend one applicant at the council’s next regular session, set for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 15.
Five Anderson residents submitted applications for the commission’s two open seats including Sandy Konkol, an electrician who ran unsuccessfully in November for one of three city council seats; DeVon Walton, manager of the WalMart Distribution Center in Red Bluff and the most recent chair of the Anderson Planning Commission; James “Scott” Fookes, owner of Scott’s Appliance Repair in Red Bluff; Angie Hawkins, a marketing representative for Cleanrite-Buildrite in Anderson; and Janaye Yarbrough-Hinsley, a self-employed computer repair technician and the daughter of Anderson Mayor James Yarbrough.
However, DeVon Walton did not attend the 6 p.m. question-and-answer session and was therefore ruled ineligible for appointment by city staff.
“The council’s thorough questioning allowed each of the four candidates who were present to articulate their ideas” about managing residential growth while also encouraging “further diversity in the city’s retail and manufacturing sectors,” City Manager Jeff Kiser said.
“All four candidates were well qualified and are providing the council members with some good choices,” Kiser said after the meeting.
Contacted by phone Friday, Jan. 4, council members Susie Baugh and Melissa Hunt each agreed with Kiser’s assessment.
“All four candidates were very strong, but Angie Hawkins and Scott Fookes stood out in my mind as the two front-runners,” Baugh said, noting she had encouraged Fookes to apply.
“I’ve chosen to recommend Scott Fookes, whom I’ve known for 32 years,” Baugh said. “He did an amazing job in the question and answer session. If the rest of the council supports my decision, I think we will have a very good, strong planning commission,” Baugh added.
Hunt, who did not have a favorite going into the interviews, was most impressed with Angie Hawkins’ responses and has asked Hawkins’ permission to fill one of the open commission seats.
“I always think about what I want to see for the city of Anderson, and I was impressed with Angie’s response to a question from Debe Hopkins about whether she would favor manufacturing or retail development. Angie responded that the city needs both in order to flourish,” Hunt said.
“She did stand out and I did call her last night. Angie told me that she would be honored to serve if I recommend her,” added Hunt.