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Aguilar challenges appointment of Werkhoven to adjustment board

The Sunnyside City Council Monday night overrode Councilwoman Bengie Aguilar's objection to the appointment of former Councilman Chad Werkhoven to the Sunnyside Board of Adjustment, by Mayor Ed Prilucik.

Aguilar defeated Werkhoven for her city council seat nearly four years ago.

Under the operating procedures of the Council, Prilucik has the power of making his own choices for the various commission seats within the city. The mayor then seeks the support of Council, which can either accept or reject Prilucik's nomination for a vacant seat.

Aguilar challenged the selection by the mayor, citing specific concerns with the removal of her brother-in-law, Juan Aguilar, from the board of adjustment.

"We are going to be hurting on diversity," said Aguilar.

Aguilar said by appointing Werkhoven to the position the diversity that should make up a commission will be lacking.

Councilman Bruce Ricks asked Aguilar to define diversity. Aguilar said that by diversity she meant the need for women and Hispanics on the different city boards, since Sunnyside's population is predominately Hispanic.

Aguilar also suggested that Council be more involved with helping the mayor make appointments to the various commissions.

Prilucik said he welcomed the assistance of Council in receiving nominations for various commission seats. But the mayor had some stern words for Aguilar and the rest of the Council. Prilucik said he will only bring a nominee to Council that he, as mayor, feels is best qualified for a vacant commission seat.

Aguilar provided the only opposition to appointing Werkhoven to the board of adjustment.

After the Council meeting, Prilucik said he decided to not renew Juan Aguilar's appointment to the board of adjustment, which expired June 30. He said Aguilar had served a couple of terms on the board and he had several other people who were interested in the position that he felt were qualified. The mayor said out of the applications he received, he felt Werkhoven was the most qualified for the position.

Werkhoven's appointment to the board of adjustment will expire June 30, 2009.

The board of adjustment now has one woman and four Caucasian males serving the city.

There are 19 seats on the other three commissions that the mayor makes appointments to, which includes the planning commission, the recreation commission and the housing authority.

Of those 19 seats, six women serve on the various boards. There are also seven Hispanic males serving on the boards, as well. The planning commission has the greatest concentration of Caucasians besides the board of adjustment, as four of the seven members are white males.

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