Former Councilor Faults Appointments Committee
By: James Kinsella
A former town councilor has questioned what he sees as a lack of response from the Barnstable Appointments Committee in his stated interest in serving on town committees.
The chairman of the Appointments Committee, however, said the committee is working through a methodical process to fill vacancies on town committees.
Henry C. Farnham of West Barnstable said he submitted a letter this past January stating his interest in four town boards: the Barnstable Municipal Airport Commission, the Barnstable Agricultural Commission, the Sandy Neck Board and the Barnstable Economic Development Commission.
In a letter e-mailed this past Monday to town councilors, Mr. Farnham stated that he had not been afforded consideration for any of the vacancies for which he had applied.
In the ensuing months, Mr. Farnham stated, the Appointments Committee interviewed and recommended other candidates for vacancies on the airport and agricultural commissions, who then were appointed by the Barnstable Town Council to fill those spots.
Town councilor Janet S. Joakim of Centerville, who is chairman of the Appointments Committee, said Mr. Farnham indicated that his priority was to serve on the economic development commission, and that his application was filed accordingly
“There are so many people who want to serve on committees,” Mr. Joakim said yesterday. “I apologize if he wanted to be interviewed for the airport.”
Ms. Joakim said Tuesday that the Appointments Committee plans to interview Mr. Farnham and other candidates at its November meeting to fill vacancies on the economic development commission.
She said the Appointments Committee is scheduling candidates for particular committees at specified meetings, with a priority given to committees that hold public hearings or are working on projects.
On Tuesday, town council administrator Barbara Ford said town council staff twice acknowledged Mr. Farnham’s committee vacancies application in person to the former councilor.
In his e-mail Monday, Mr. Farnham said the economic development commission, which has nine seats, has been saddled with three vacancies, along with a member who he said attends few commission meetings.
Mr. Farnham was a founder of the commission and served as its chairman.
“If you are more interested in political retribution than helping our economy to prosper, [then] I understand you will continue to ignore my desire to serve on the [commission],” he wrote. “However, if you want to see the town’s economic development initiatives get a boost, please appoint me to the [commission.]”
Mr. Farnham was among the town councilors who voted last year to offer then-Barnstable town manager John C. Klimm an early departure from his contract, and who subsequently were voted out of office.
Four members of the current Appointments Committee were supporters of Mr. Klimm.
On Tuesday, Ms. Joakim called Mr. Farnham’s suggestion of political retribution “sad.”
The Appointments Committee, she said, works hard at its job to recommend the best candidates. “There are no conspiracies,” she said.
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