New MCC Chair Neil Merrilees
Neil Merrilees, the moderate candidate who won a seat on the MCC two years ago after being endorsed by both the League for Coastside Protection and rival Put Community First, was named chairman of the Council by a unanimous vote of the newly seated members this past Wednesday.
With the two new members who were sworn in, appointed after too few candidates emerged in the the recent election, there is a stark transformation in the make-up of the Council. The current line-up in addition to Merrilees includes former Chair Deborah Lardie and Leonard Woren in addition to new members David Vespremi, and Len Erickson. Two additional seats remain vacant but are in the process of being filled by appointment.
Kathryn Slater-Carter and Gael Erickson were unable to run again for the MCC since they also serve on MWSD and GSD, respectively–new rules prevent citizens from serving on more than one elected body at a time. (Those rules will apply to Woren when his MCC terms expires in 2011.) Sabrina Brennan, appointed to the MCC in February of this year, declined to stand for election.
Merrilees in the past often found himself the lone dissenter on issues raging from updating archaic zoning codes to installing water fountains in local parks. In his two years on the MCC Merriless has taken a leading role in moving to re-establish the Council as a force in local policy-making, pushing to improve the internal workings of the Council as well as attempting to focus the Council on issues of concern to the community.
In February of this year Merrilees was the first elected official to raise public concerns about the large development called Big Wave, a 300,000 square foot office complex proposed for Airport Road.
Len Erickson was chosen as the Council’s Vice-Chair and Leonard Woren was selected to serve as Secretary.
The current Midcoast Community Council, the largest elected body on the coast (aside from the Fire Board which is in the process of shrinking), is now made up of the following members, in alphabetical order:
Midcoast Community Council
Len Erickson (newly elected, Vice-Chair)
Neil Merrilees — Chair
David Vespremi (newly elected)
Leonard Woren — Secretary