The Town Council nominated six people for a vacant seat Monday after hearing why five thought they would be a good fit for the town.
A sixth applicant, Paul Neebe, had a prior commitment.
The others – Kevin Hicks, Adam Jones, Michael Parker, Amy Ryan and Gary Shaw – each got five minutes to explain why they should replace Matt Czajkowski, who resigned in March. The town has received a number of emails supporting Parker and Ryan.
The council will consider whether to fill the seat Monday. A applicant must receive five council votes to be appointed and would serve until Czajkowski’s term expires in December.
The seat does not have to be filled, but the council has to consider the question at every meeting until someone is appointed or elected in this year’s council race. All five applicants who spoke indicated they might run in November.
While the choices are strong, voters should make the decision, Councilman Jim Ward said. The person who fills the vacancy now could have an advantage in the November election, he said, and also serve only a few months, because the council breaks for summer.
“We are very close to the end of the fiscal year and we are well into the (Obey Creek) development agreement process with East West Partners, and to bring somebody on at this point seems to me like it is not the right decision,” he said.
That’s true, Councilwoman Donna Bell said, but the new member also will be held accountable for any decisions made this year.
The applicants are:
▪ Kevin Hicks
Address: 2201 Homestead Road
Work: IBM engineer
School: Eastern Michigan University
Community activities: Triangle Bikeworks founder, Youth Community Project, Chapel Hill/Carrboro Youth Forward, East Coast Greenway Alliance advisory member, previously served on town’s Justice in Action and Community Policing Advisory committees
Statement: “I want to help with the creation of (a youth engagement) strategy. In addition to the youth initiative, I am passionate about funding for the Rogers Road sewer plan, solid waste issues for the town and implementing a bike plan and initiating a pedestrian plan. I would like to apply the same energy and focus I have working with youth to the duties of Town Council.”
▪ Adam Jones
Address: 712 Gimghoul Road
Work: Owner, property sales at Mill House Properties since 2002
School: UNC journalism and mass communication degree, with advertising and marketing focus
Community activities: Several boards and groups, including the Orange County Economic Development Commission; Gimghoul Neighborhood Board of Directors (former secretary), Orange County Habitat for Humanity, National Association of Realtors, Greater Chapel Hill Association of Realtors and National Association of Residential Property Managers
Statement: “As I thought and thought about (where to live), I knew I loved Chapel Hill. I loved the university. I loved Carolina athletics, and so the decision became pretty simple. Out of all the wonderful Southern towns there are out there, that I’d come back to Chapel Hill. ... The main reason I’m here tonight is that I love Chapel Hill. I’ve been here for 30 years, and I plan on being here for 30 more years, and I wanted to make a positive impact on the town that I love and the town that I call home.”
▪ Paul Neebe
Address: 1002 Highland Woods Road
Work: Professional trumpet player, real estate broker
School: Music degrees from The Juilliard School; musical arts doctorate from the Catholic University of America
Community activities: 2013 Town Council candidate; former member of Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board
Statement: No statement, but his 2013 platform included affordable housing, reducing the property tax burden on homeowners, increasing alternative transportation options, maintain and improve town’s quality of life, efficiency and accountability in local government
▪ Michael Parker
Address: 601 W. Rosemary St.
Work: managing partner, BioAsset Advisors
School: Biology degree from University at Buffalo, UNC neurobiology studies and MBA in health care administration from Baruch College, City University of New York
Community activities: Central West Steering Committee co-chair; Planning Commission’s Transportation and Connectivity Champion; former chair, Transportation Advisory Board; Rosemary Imagined Project Team; ArtsCenter treasurer; Friends of the Downtown and Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce board member
I have an intimate familiarity with the issues that the council will be dealing with in the coming months that I have gained through my service to the town. I also believe that in the course of my professional career, I have developed a number of skills that will be valuable to the council: negotiating, consensus and team building, financial analysis and management, planning and an entrepreneurial and creative approach to tackling complex problems. I am a fact-based and pragmatic decision maker whose guiding principle in all of my service to the town is to do what is best for Chapel Hill as a whole.”
▪ Amy Ryan
Address: 209 Adams Way
Work: Freelance book editor
School: master’s degree in landscape architecture from N.C. State University
Community activities: 2013 Town Council applicant, Planning Commission vice chairwoman and Community Design Champion, previous member of the Community Design Commission, Central West Steering Committee co-chair, plus other committees and task forces
Statement: “My service ... has strengthened my resolve to help Chapel Hill grow in ways that don’t make us home to ubiquitous chain retail and mediocre development, to work to preserve our neighborhoods by adding density in just the right places and at the right scale, to find ways to increase our tax base to improve fiscal stability, to develop in ways that provide not only good places but good jobs, and to continue the effort to balance our housing stock, so that a diverse population can call Chapel Hill home.”
▪ Gary Shaw
Address: 103 Glenview Place
Work: Former associate professor at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler School of Business; independent management consultant
School: Bachelor’s degree in English from University at Buffalo, doctorate in English language and literature from University of Virginia
Community activities: Former Rainbow League soccer coach
Statement: “I come to you with very little of some of the experience that people have for the town of Chapel Hill, but I also have no special agendas, I have no axes to grind, I have no past skeletons, and I dare to hope that that might actually be an advantage in some ways. What I can bring instead is a wide open mind, a caring attitude toward Chapel Hill and a real sense of what it means just to be a resident.”
The Town Council will meet at 6 p.m. Monday in the Town Hall Council Chambers, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. The council could hear from the public before deciding whether to appoint someone to fill Matt Czajkowski’s vacant seat. The term will expire in December.