By Melinda Baird,

The Chelsea community’s willingness to serve its local government has left city officials grappling a bit with its appointment process.  Faced with more qualified applicants than seats for a newly established Housing Research Advisory Commission, City Council on March 19 discussed its dilemma before voting to appoint three at-large members from a pool of five.  A sixth applicant, Stephen McClane, withdrew his name earlier that same day.

Councilman Peter Feeney, who, along with Rick Catherman, will satisfy the requirement for city council representation on the commission, said he won’t nominate a slate of applicants as he did for the Human Rights Commission.  Instead, he said, the will of council as a whole ought to drive the process.

But actual criteria for selection was never really specified.  Councilman Frank Hammer suggested appointments be made in the order applications were received, while several others suggested members simply bring forth individual nominations for council vote.  Overall, Council agreed the commission should comprise a variety of ages, backgrounds and experiences.


“This is going to be an imperfect process and we’re just going to have to get comfortable with that,” Feeney said.  “But it’s a great thing we have so many people willing to serve—it’s the right problem to have.”

Terris Ahrens, the only applicant to fulfill the requirement for real estate professional representation, was appointed to the housing commission for a one-year term.  Adam Ellison, the only applicant to fulfill the requirement for planning commission representation, was similarly appointed.

Nominated by individual council members in rapid succession, the three at-large members appointed were Vince Elie (nominated by Jane Pacheco), Mackenzie Pfeiffer (nominated by Cheri Albertson) and Joshua Tucker (nominated by Rick Catherman).  All three were present and spoke of their interest in the commission during the March 5 council meeting.

Remaining applicants Stephen Fetyko and Kasie Cousino were encouraged to reapply next year.

With as many applicants as seats, Council also filled the newly established Sustainability Advisory Commission.  Tasked with presenting research findings to council for further study, the commission consists of council members Tony Iannelli and Frank Hammer, building/development professional John Salyer, alternative energy specialist Craig Toepfer, and at-large members Tom Girard and Brian Bieber.  The commission is still in need of one planning commission representative.

Finally, council nearly filled the newly established Parks & Recreation Commission.  Mayor Melissa Johnson will serve as the city council representative and Andrew Thomson the community education and recreation representative.  Residents Jonathon Van Hoek, Sara Wedell, Christina Wingate and Samuel Angus will serve as at-large members.  The commission is still in need of one at-large member.