The Rockville City Council had issues with two vacancy appointment decisions proposed by Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio at last night's Mayor and Council meeting.
Three councilmembers, John Hall, Tom Moore and Mark Pierzchala, declined to support one of Marcuccio's nominations for the city Board of Supervisors of Elections, activist Drew Powell.
Powell has been a longtime opponent of developer influence in city and county elections, and was an outspoken critic of individual candidates' campaign finance activities in the 2011 city election.
Was this political payback, or simply a desire to explore other candidates, as some councilmembers suggested?
It has been established practice for mayoral nominations for appointments to be honored. The fact that Marcuccio raised objection to that protocol as a councilmember in previous years was raised. Marcuccio did so, but then-Mayor Susan Hoffman still prevailed in having sole power of nomination.
Thus the rejection of Powell was unusual.
Councilmember Bridget Donnell Newton joined Hall, Moore and Pierzchala later in the meeting in endorsing the reappointment of Kate Ostell to the city Planning Commission. Ostell is a longtime commissioner whose term actually expired last summer.
Marcuccio suggested it was time to add fresh blood to the commission. The four councilmembers disagreed.
This appointment is highly significant, as whoever is appointed will cast a powerful vote on the Rockville Pike Plan, on which billions of dollars in developer profits hinge. Marcuccio has been critical of the plan, and her appointment could complicate approval of what appears to remain a developer-friendly document. Others feel Ostell's experience and involvement in the lengthy Pike Plan process add value to the commission's final deliberations, which will follow a public hearing on it.