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City Council approves board and commission appointments

By Amira Van Leeuwen 

KYLE  —The Kyle City Council held a special meeting on Saturday at 9 a.m. to nominate and approve board and commission appointments. 

Council member Ashlee Bradshaw and Mayor Pro Tem Robert Rizo were absent, leaving Council members Michael Tobias, Yvonne Flores-Cale, Daniela Parsley and Mayor Travis Mitchell as a quorum. 

The four city representatives present had to unanimously agree for any applicant to be approved without being interviewed.

The Kyle Public Library Board had four openings with Seats 3, 5 and 7 vacant with Jessica Robinson up for reappointment. Jessica Robinson was reappointed in Seat 1. Joi Torres was appointed to Seat 3, Spencer Copeland to Seat 5, and Mary Landrum to Seat 7. 

Flores-Cale really liked how Landrum was a part of the Team Kyle Academy and her resume. 

The Parks and Recreation Board had two vacancies due to a board member moving and possible uninterest in reappointment or term limits. GayLynne Carson, Julia Fishback and James Stanfill were among the considered applicants to fill the vacancies.

The council appointed Julia Fishback to Seat 2 and Julianna Orgish to Seat 6.  

The Planning and Zoning Commission’s Seat 3 was vacant, with the current Seat 4 commissioner term expiring. The Planning and Zoning Commission Seat 2 Commissioner Mario Mata was seeking re-appointment. 

Mata was unanimously reappointed for Seat 2. Sara Onckin was appointed to Seat 3 and Neil Stegall was appointed to Seat 4. Brandon James was unanimously appointed to Seat 6.

For Seat 3, Flores-Cale nominated Austin Sutherland because of his familiarity with the city. Parsley and Tobias nominated Oncken. 

After motioning to approve Oncken for Seat 3, the council voted and the motion failed in a split vote with Mitchell and Flores-Cale voting against. Mitchell’s recommendation was Neil Stegall.

For Seat 4, Tobias recommended Julianna Orgish. Parsley recommended Steve DeLory. Flores-Cale said she would still like to nominate Sutherland. 

“[Sutherland] mentioned things that mattered to me,” Flores-Cale said. 

Tobias called Onckin to the podium to ask about the challenges she would find on the Planning and Zoning Commission.

Onckin said she enjoyed the dialogue the Planning and Zoning Commission had.

“Given that there are going to be two new people sitting on the board, I think it’s important that we continue that tradition of being vocal and being engaged,” Onckin said.

Onckin said challenges that might arise would be land developments.

“People are going to want to take advantage of the open spaces we’ve got, and I think it’s smart to have people who are going to be patient and to wait for the right thing for that space instead of being, maybe, a bit hasty,” Onckin said.  

Flores-Cale asked why Onckin thought there were so many undeveloped spaces in Kyle.

“I think there’s just a lot of empty spaces that are trying to get filled in right now,” Onckin said, referring to driving by a lot of areas that are being developed and redistricting signs.

After Flores-Cale motioned to approve Onckin, Tobias voted in negation, and the motion failed.

Parsley said she appreciates Onckin’s engagement.

“She emails me quite often, pays attention to the city council meetings and she has been present in the meetings,” Parsley said.  

Flores-Cale wished James and other reappointments and individuals were present during the meeting. Flores-Cale also acknowledged James’s vocalness. 

“Anybody that’s on these boards and commissions, the more work you do, the less work we have to do,” Flores-Cale said. “So I really appreciate whoever we put on these boards.”

After some disagreement, the council compromised and voted for Julianna Orgish and Julia Fishback.

Seat 7 on the Arts Commission was required to have a business person from the community. Victoria Phrydas was appointed to Seat 7. Tobias recommended Phrydas to serve based on her experience and resume. Flores-Cale seconded the recommendation. 

Parsley recommended Gerald Kurten because she thought his background would benefit the arts commission.

Decisions about the Economic and Development and Tourism board were postponed. 

“I think we need to have a larger discussion at the council level about this board, in particular, about making those nominations,” Mitchell said. “Each position is industry specific, and a lot of times those are positions recruited directly by the economic development director to fill those particular seats.” 

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