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Citizens challenged to volunteer to fill commission positions

Richard D. L. Fulton

(2/7) The Thurmont Board of Commissioners appealed for residents to "step up to the plate" and apply for volunteer positions with town commissions, but also cautioned about the need for people skills in serving.

The board of commissioners approved over half a dozen commission appointments at their February 4 meeting, including one for the town Police Commission, one for the town Planning and Zoning Commission, and five for the town Board of Appeals.

Mayor John Kinnaird said, "We always have once or twice a year vacancies on our commissions…I just want to thank every one of the applicants for stepping up and taking time out of their monthly schedule to come down here and participate with these commissions."

"I wish we had more volunteers," he said. "I wish we had 12 that we had to pick out two or three, and that those people (not selected) were anxious to do it (serve) and they stepped back and came around next year to apply again."

"We typically have about the number of applicants we need to fill any given spot that is vacant," Kinnaird stated. "I’d encourage anyone out there if you want to come in and help us…keep your ears open and the next time there is a vacancy come down and take a shot at it. We appreciate everyone’s hard work and participation in this."

Commissioner Martin Burns asked current and future commission volunteers "to step back and think about what you’re saying and how you’re saying it" when dealing with members of the public.

"Your job as a commission member is to execute the policies and procedures that the elected body up here present to you," Burns stated. "I’m getting some complaints, and I’ve witnessed some in certain commissions, that are absolutely over the top, rude, arrogant, disrespectful, and do not convey what I think should be conveyed to the public or a customer."

"It is a tough job, a thankless job," he stated, adding, "(But) it’s not your job to interpret or use your authority to enforce your will on someone. I just want to ask you to be careful."

Kinnaird said there were at least two boards involved that have been the source of complaints. The specific boards were not identified.

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