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Mayor supports Woodwick for historic preservation commission


The Havre City Council has filled a vacant seat on the Historic Preservation Commission, resolving a dispute between the mayor and a City Council member that began in July.

Mayor Bob Rice on Monday nominated a candidate supported by council member Emily Mayer, who is also the city's historic preservation officer. That nominee, Vince Woodwick, was unanimously approved by the council.

Mayer had recommended Woodwick, brother to council member Allen "Woody" Woodwick, in February. On July 7, Rice reappointed Keith Doll to the commission, but delayed nominating anyone for a vacancy on the commission until this month.

Mayer told a reporter in July that she was opposed to the person Rice was considering for the two-year term and wanted him to appoint Woodwick.

Both Rice and Mayer declined in July to name the person Rice was considering for the unpaid position.

Rice said during Monday's meeting that he had decided to appoint Vince Woodwick "after some serious pondering on my part, and some frustration on Emily Mayer Lossing's part."

Mayer said after the meeting that Woodwick is "a natural fit" for the commission. Woodwick was involved in historic preservation in Nebraska, and since he moved back to Havre he has helped at the Heritage Center and been involved in the Historic Preservation Commission's meetings, she said.

Mayer said any differences she and Rice had over the appointment have been resolved.

Rice said in an interview this morning that after he researched Woodwick's background, he decided that the Havre native is a good choice for the commission.

"He has a passion for historic preservation and history," Rice said.

He said he initially wanted to reappoint Debi Rhines, whose stepping down opened the position Woodwick will fill. But Rhines, who is very active in the community, did not feel she had the time to continue on the commission, Rice said.

He said he also considered William Rader, but Rader also declined because of other commitments, Rice said.

Rice added that all three people he considered are very qualified to work on the commission.

"Really, they were on the same level. It was just a matter of who had the most time," he said.

Mayer said in July that the person Rice was considering appointing to the commission had not expressed interest in being on the commission, did not have a basic understanding of historic preservation, and had opposed the idea of the city giving financial support to the Heritage Center.

The City Council has since approved providing services to the center, but no financial contributions above what it already gives, saying budget constraints prevent additional donations of money. The city pays about $2,000 a year for the center's insurance.

Rice said during Monday's meeting that he has the power to appoint people to certain positions, like Preservation Commission members and city department heads.

"You can submit a recommendation to me," he told the council. "That doesn't mean I have to take it."

If a member of the council has valid reasons to oppose someone he is considering, Rice said, he hopes the council member will come into his office to discuss those reasons.


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