REDINGTON BEACH — A commissioner turned out of office at the March election reclaimed a position on the board April 7 after he was appointed to the seat vacated by the newly elected mayor.
Tim Kornijtschuk, who completed two terms before receiving the lowest number of votes of four candidates in the March 9 municipal election, won the appointment by a 3-1 vote after a commission composed equally of veteran and freshman members failed March 17 to agree on an appointee.
Kornijtschuk’s victory came after another hopeful, Kenneth Lotterhos, withdrew his application because of “corrosive politics.”
Lotterhos, one of five applicants, had been favored by newly elected Commissioner Richard Cariello to fill the uncompleted term of David Will, who resigned halfway through his two-year term to run successfully for mayor. Cariello nominated Lotterhos for the position six times at the March meeting, but no commissioner seconded the motion.
Commissioners Shawntay Skjoldager and Tom Dorgan had countered by nominating applicants John Miller and Alan Robinson and seconded each other’s motions, but each applicant failed to get the necessary three votes.
At the April meeting, each of the applicants again briefly addressed the commission. Lotterhos was the first to speak.
“The past eight years I have served this town on the planning board,” he began.
“Over the last several commission meetings I have witnessed a horrible display of corrosive politics. This behavior does not serve the town of Redington Beach. From this point on, I will not be a part of this. Therefore, I’m withdrawing my application to fill Mayor Will’s vacant commission seat. Furthermore, I’m also resigning my appointment to the Planning Board.”
He endorsed Kornijtschuk for the vacant seat, saying he had “both the experience as a former commissioner and a former Planning Board member.”
Miller, Robinson, and another applicant, Susan Ferenc, also made presentations.
When Kornijtschuk addressed the commission, he thanked Lotterhos for the endorsement and agreed to “a lot of the sentiment” Lotterhos expressed.
“This is getting a little crazy to say the least,” Kornijtschuk said. “I truly think your role is not an election. You’re to select the most qualified candidate to serve out the remainder of Will’s term.
“A lot of the candidates applying have never been in this room in the four years I’ve been in this room,” he added. “They haven’t come up to the board. They haven’t come up to the Finance Board, Planning Board, Board of Adjustment. They really haven’t come to the process.”
When the mayor called for nominations, Cariello nominated Ferenc, which failed for lack of a second.
Skjoldager’s nomination of Miller was seconded by Dorgan, but voting split 2-2, with Cariello and Will against.
Cariello then nominated Kornijtschuk, which Dorgan seconded. Kornijtschuk was approved by a 3-1 vote, with Skjoldager voting no.
Kornijtschuk was immediately sworn into office.
Interviewed later, Lotterhos said he took his action because “I don’t want to be a part of the infighting that’s going on.”
He expressed concern about “the bickering that went back and forth. It doesn’t do anything good for the town.”
He described Kornijtschuk’s appointment as “a good result for the town.”
“I spoke up because I felt my actions would actually speak volumes,” Lotterhos said. “Hopefully, get people to actually talk to each other again rather fighting, taking political sides. And it seems to have worked” to help people “past their logjams.”
In other business, consulting engineer Lynn Burnett led an hour-long discussion with commissioners and residents about the proposed installation of Wastop valves in some of the 40 stormwater outfall pipes in town. She said five sites had been identified as being in critical need and should have priority for installation. Total cost of the valves would be about $45,000 plus installation. Commissioners voted 4-1 to authorize staff to proceed to solicit bids for the project. Cariello voted no.