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  • Writer's pictureRoger Sims, Journal Staff

Commission members would block replacing planner

Updated: Apr 25

MOUND CITY – Two members of the Linn County Commission indicated they would block a move by Commission Chair Jason Hightower to remove a member of the county’s planning and zoning commission on Monday, April 15.

Hightower said he wanted to remove Joab Ory from the planning commission because of excessive absences. Hightower appointed Ory to the commission last year.

However, Commissioners Jim Johnson and Danny McCullough both rejected the suggestion.

Hightower told the commission that Ory had only attended one of the four meetings this year. Hightower said he would like to add Butch Boley in his place.

According to commission records, Ory attended only six of 16 meetings in 2023 and one of six meetings in 2024.

The commissioners approved a committee policy in November 2022 that included wording that any member that misses three regular board meetings in 12-month period without notice to staff would be replaced with a new member who shall serve out that members term.

McCullough asked Hightower how his decision came about. 

Hightower said that he had been talking with Ory and had stressed to him that he needed to do a better job of attending the meetings.

McCullough said if the commission was going to do that, there would be many meetings where people don’t attend.

Johnson said the commission recently approved attending planning commission meetings by Zoom. He asked if Ory was notified at the last meeting that Zoom was available.

However, while online attendance has been approved, the system has not been set up yet.

“I think we’ve fixed the problem for people, and it is an advisory board anyway,” said Johnson.

Hightower said that he thought that being there and having appropriate discussion is important.

Johnson said that he was not in favor of pulling people off committees. He said there are situations on the commission that he doesn’t like, but he doesn’t pull people off the commission. 

There has been one person pulled off the commission already that likely should have not been removed, he said.

Mike White, an appointee of McCullough, was removed from the planning commission last year for conduct detrimental to the county.

McCullough said he was not for it either and he had spoken with Ory and he was very adamant about being on it. He said he had a job to do, and we all have things that come up.

Johnson said he had not talked to Ory.

Hightower asked at what point the commission is going to remove people on attendance.

“I would personally like to go to a night commission meeting, myself, so we could have more opportunities for people to be on this board,” said Johnson.

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