ashland.news
July 23, 2024

Ashland Parks commissioners choose Seffinger to fill vacant seat

Ashland Parks & Recreation commissions deliberate at Wednesday's special meeting. Screen capture from RVTV video
Ashland Parks & Recreation commissions deliberate at a special meeting on Sept. 6, 2023. Screen capture from RVTV video
September 6, 2023

Appointment of former commissioner, city councilor subject to City Council action

By Morgan Rothborne, Ashland.news

By unanimous vote, the four remaining Ashland Parks & Recreation Commission commissioners at a special meeting Wednesday chose their candidate for vacant Commission Seat 1. 

Former APRC Commissioner and city Councilor Stefani Seffinger will fill the vacant seat, pending approval by the Ashland City Council. The commission considered seven applicants for the open commissioner seat, vacated by Leslie Eldridge when she was appointed interim director of Ashland parks.

To fill the seat, Commissioner Jim Bachman arranged a voting system based on a two-tiered system, Bachman explained at the meeting. First, a paper ballot system with commissioners arranging all seven applicants for the empty commissioner’s seat from their highest to least preference. The paper ballots were used to populate a spreadsheet with the number of votes allotted to each candidate. Whoever received the majority — three out of four commissioners — would be nominated as a motion to be voted on by commissioners. Seffinger was not only unanimously voted in but lauded by commissioners. 

Stefani Seffinger speaks at an Ashland City Council study session in 2022. (Note: The caption on the video feed had the incorrect label and date; it was a study session on Oct. 3)

Three of the four remaining commissioners selected Seffinger as their first pick for the open commissioner seat.

“We embrace Stefanie Seffinger as the new parks position number 1,” said Bachman.
Commissioner Justin Adams selected L. Fernando Mejia Arroyo as his first choice for the open seat, followed by Michael Stringer and then Seffinger as his third choice.

The three other commissioners selected Julian Bell as their second choice.

Priscilla Franco was selected as the third choice by commissioners Rick Landt and Bachman. Candidates Naiyabingi Budler and Daniel Weiner weren’t nominated by any of the commissioners.

“Tons of experience with parks, longtime champion of parks, tons of experience on City Council — I look forward to working with Stefani,” said Adams. 

“A lot of experience coming back to commission and, with the council experience, it’s even more valuable,” said Commissioner Jim Lewis. 

After the meeting, Seffinger said her history working with parks stretches back to 2006, a sum of experience she wants to offer in the current moment. 

“I kind of think this is a transitional time for parks. Hopefully I can provide some background,” she said. 

Email Ashland.news reporter Morgan Rothborne at morganr@ashland.news. Freelance reporter Damian Mann contributed to this report.

Sept. 15: Additional detail added about voting.

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Bert Etling

Bert Etling is the executive editor of Ashland.news. Email him at betling@ashland.news.

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