Incumbent planning commissioners ousted |

Incumbent planning commissioners ousted

by Scott Neuffer

The new year brought regime change for one of Douglas County’s most important advisory boards.

Today, Douglas County Commissioners voted 4-1, with Doug Johnson vehemently voting nay, to replace incumbent planning commissioners Lawrence Howell, Rick Ross, and Bob Conner with Frank Godecke, Jeremy Davidson and Don Miner.

Johnson protested in disbelief and implied the action was vindictive.

“Boy, are we sending out the wrong message,” Johnson said. “Did any of you even call any of these people to talk to them? I’m in disbelief. My jaw dropped. I’m very disappointed.”

Howell ran against commissioner Nancy McDermid in the November election and lost by a narrow margin. Last year, he was chairman of the planning commission.

McDermid said her vote wasn’t about the incumbents themselves, but about bringing fresh perspective onto the planning commission.

“I see people who’ve been on the planning commission for 7 years, 5 years and 4 years,” McDermid said. “It’s time to see some fresh faces on the board.”

The planning commission oversees the master plan update.

The other commissioners agreed.

“Nothing against Don Miner,” Johnson said of the former county commissioner and consultant to Park Cattle when they sought a master plan amendment. “I’m sure he’d be glad to know he’s a fresh face.”

Commissioner Greg Lynn said the new planning commission reflects the county’s change of circumstance.

“A lot of the hot button issues dealing with growth and agriculture need a different perspective and a different interpretation,” he said.