City Commission picks a new member

Friday, October 12, 2018
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Enterprise photo by Nate Howard

Melissa Nootz is interviewed by Livingston city commissioners on Thursday. Former City Commissioner Patricia Grabow, seated at left, also interviewed for the vacancy. Nootz was voted into the position.

Livingston has a new city commissioner: Melissa Nootz.

Nootz, who works for Moms Clean Air Force, a nonpartisan organization devoted to protecting children’s health, was selected by the commission to serve in the seat vacated by the resignation of Sarah Sandberg. The term lasts until December 2019.

The commission, which held interviews for the three applicants, voted 3-1 to appoint Nootz, despite previously indicating it would not make a selection until Tuesday’s meeting.

The commission did not publicly notice or publish an agenda for Thursday’s meeting, which had only one member of the public in attendance. City Attorney Jay Porteen did not respond to an inquiry about the process Friday morning.

Nootz is expected to be sworn in Tuesday.

During her interview, Nootz, who is also a Girl Scout leader, said her three biggest priorities would be an additional rail crossing, creating a comprehensive growth plan and improving communication between the local government and its citizens.

Commissioner Mel Friedman, who nominated Nootz, said he thought her work in nonprofits would help benefit the city.

“It just sounds like it would be a good fit, and it’s a little bit better balance of the male-female,” Friedman said.

Commissioner Quentin Schwartz said he thought it could benefit the community that Nootz had lived in the area for only three years.

“I’m very impressed with Melissa’s grasp of the issues we’re facing,” Schwartz said. “We need younger people to help bridge the age gap, and she would bring a fresh eye to these issues.”

Former City Commissioner Patricia Grabow and Michael Dannewitz, who is retired and works part time as a bartender, also interviewed for the position. Rebecca Swandal, who applied for the position, chose not to interview.

Commissioner Warren Mabie, the lone “no” vote on Nootz, did not comment on her, though he nominated Dannewitz.

Commission Chairwoman Dorel Hoglund thanked all the applicants.

“I really appreciate all three of you applying,” Hoglund said. “You’re all very interested in the community.”

Grabow said her three main priorities were economic health, infrastructure needs and citizen participation. She said her experience on the commission would make it so there was a smooth transition.

Dannewitz said his priorities were the overpass/underpass, housing, and attracting new jobs and new industry into the area.