Mayor expresses disappointment, but casts his vote in favor of plan
Sandra Emerson, Staff Writer
Created: 05/25/2011 05:07:46 PM PDT

UPLAND – After review by two committees and scrutiny by the mayor, the city’s process for selecting Planning Commission members remains virtually intact.

A subcommittee of Councilmen Brendan Brandt and Gino Filippi recommended a slight modification to the city’s selection process, which was approved during Monday night’s council meeting.

The current process of selecting planning commissioners includes an interview panel made up of the mayor or designee, mayor pro tem or designee, and the Planning Commission chairman.

Brandt and Filippi recommended the city include a senior member of the planning staff to the interview panel, but did not make any more changes to the selection process.

Staff members will be able to ask the interviewee about upcoming projects in the city including the downtown specific plan, Brandt said.

“Although the council is aware of those and has attended the workshops on those, the Planning Department has a more in-depth analysis of those issues that I think is going to be helpful during the selection process,” Brandt said.

Mayor Ray Musser said he was disappointed in the results, but decided to vote in favor of the change.

“So we’re back to where we were,” Musser said.

The review of the selection process for the Planning Commission was brought up by Musser soon after former Mayor John Pomierski and an appointee of the Building Appeals Board, John Hennes, were named in an 11-count indictment accusing them of participating in an extortion scheme targeting two Upland businesses.

The indictment filed on March 2 by a federal grand jury references a meeting on April 27, 2010, with Hennes, alleged co-conspirators Jason Crebs and Anthony Sanchez, and an unnamed Upland business.

During the meeting, Hennes stated that Pomierski recommended having Sanchez address the Planning Commission on behalf of the business because Planning Commission votes were all dictated by Pomierski. As a result, Hennes said they should have all votes in favor of the permit, according to the indictment.

The Planning Commission considered approving Sanchez’s permit for Rockin’ Roadhouse the following night, but decided to postpone its vote until he met certain guidelines proposed by the city. Commissioners never voted on the permit.

The City Council Advisory Committee was originally tasked with reviewing the selection process. It recommended the Planning Commission be decreased from seven members to five, but the council voted to keep seven commissioners.

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