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This story was updated at 12:30 p.m. May 1. An explanation appears at the bottom of the story.


Staff writer

The Charles County Planning Commission got its long-awaited makeover Tuesday when the county commissioners voted to appoint two new members, including a replacement for Chairman Courtney Edmonds.

Edmonds had been eligible for reappointment, but the commissioners instead appointed La Plata farmer Gilbert “Buddy” Bowling and Kenneth Smith to replace Edmonds and commission member Louis Grasso, whose term ended last year, making him ineligible for reappointment.

The commissioners also voted to reappoint board member Joan Jones and appoint current member Steve Bunker as the commission’s chairman.

Commissioners Reuben B. Collins II (D), Debra M. Davis (D) Bobby Rucci (D) and Ken Robinson (D) voted for each appointment. Robinson entered the motion to have Bunker appointed chairman.

Commissioners’ President Candice Quinn Kelly (D) was not present for the votes.

“We got a consensus,” Davis said. “We got a farmer. We maintained some racial diversity. Can’t lose when you have all those.”

Davis said there was “no specific reason” why Edmonds was not reappointed.

“I believe in democracy, and we have a board of five commissioners and three commissioners represent a majority, and it’s very obvious that the majority of the commissioners have an agenda, and I respect that, but it is not my agenda,” Robinson said. “I did not oppose any of them. I just sort of threw up my hands.”

Robinson said he had not met Bowling or Smith until the commissioners interviewed them for the planning board vacancies.

“I truly hope that the new members of the planning commission do an outstanding job, and I will do anything in my power to support them in that effort,” he said. “I felt both Mr. Smith and Mr. Bowling seem like very capable and concerned citizens, and I wish them the best.”

Robinson said that he is “happy” to see Bunker appointed chairman.

“I think he will do an outstanding job,” Robinson added.

This story was updated to correct Commissioner Ken Robinson’s vote on the reappointment of Joan Jones and the appointment of Gilbert “Buddy” Bowling and Kenneth Smith. Robinson voted for all three appointments.