Carrboro board pleased with candidates

Staff WriterJanuary 21, 2006 

A day after interviewing 12 candidates for a vacant position on the Board of Aldermen, Joal Broun, who serves on the board, said the town is lucky to have such high-quality applicants.

"People want to maintain and continue diversity for the town, and that's very comforting to hear," Broun said. "Carrboro is very blessed to have people who want to maintain that diversity and make sure it's maintained for the future."

Alderman Randee Haven-O'Donnell was also impressed with the candidates.

"Applicant responses were thoughtful and demonstrated sincere interest in serving the Carrboro community," Haven-O'Donnell wrote in an e-mail message Friday.

The Board of Aldermen met Thursday evening to publicly interview 12 applicants vying for the vacant seat Mark Chilton left when he became mayor last month.

To fill the vacancy on the board, aldermen must appoint someone, and the new member will then serve two years -- the rest of Chilton's alderman term. The board decided in December it would open up the position to current and soon-to-be residents of Carrboro via an application-and-interview process.

Of the dozen applicants, four are residents of the area northeast of Carrboro to be annexed by the town Jan. 31 -- Alena Callimanis, Stephen Clossick, Lydia Lavelle and former alderman candidate Katrina Ryan. Ryan moved to an apartment in Carrboro so she could run and represent her neighbors. She received the fourth-highest number of votes when she ran last year.

Two other previous candidates, Catherine DeVine and David Marshall, are also giving it another go.

The other applicants were already residents of Carrboro. They are David Beck, James Carnahan, Dan Coleman, Robert Kirschner, John Marold and Albert Vickers.

Broun said the recurring theme of the interview responses was housing affordability.

"People want to keep Carrboro affordable for both the people that live here and for the people who come in but don't have the über-resources to purchase a house," she said Friday. "They all had very thoughtful answers. And I hope those who don't get selected will still participate in the advisory boards."

After the 2 1/2-hour interview session wrapped up, the aldermen praised the applicants.

"The thoughtfulness speaks to the good will of everyone here tonight, and it shows we have common interests," said Alderman Alex Zaffron.

Haven-O'Donnell, a newcomer to the board, said her expectations were met.

"I was so sure this would unfold beautifully," she said at the meeting. "And it did."

The board will appoint its seventh member Jan. 31 during a special meeting at Town Hall, 301 W. Main St.

Aldermen chose the Jan. 31 date so residents of that area would be eligible to be appointed to the board.

Speaking ahead to the night of the appointment, Chilton said: "I feel it would be impossible for us to make a bad decision."

Staff writer Meiling Arounnarath can be reached at 932-2004 or meiling.arounnarath@ newsobserver.com.

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