Fani-Gonzalez Won’t Challenge Anderson for Planning Board Chair
Five people have filed for two vacancies
Five newcomers have applied for seats on the county’s influential Planning Board but one woman who has been mentioned as a serious contender to unseat the current chairman says she won’t seek the job.
Casey Anderson, whose second term on the five-member commission expires in June and has filed for reappointment, was widely expected to face a challenge from fellow commissioner Natali Fani-Gonzalez.
“Lots of people across the county have encouraged me to challenge him — he and I clearly have strong differences based on voting records – but I’m not planning to do so,” Fani-Gonzalez, of Wheaton, said in an email. She declined further comment. Her term expires in 2022.
Anderson and Fani-Gonzalez have frequently voiced differing opinions on policy setting and solutions to environmental issues.
The chairman’s job is considered one of the most influential county positions because of its ability to direct agendas and debate and enact development policies and long-range plans.
The terms of Anderson and commissioner Norman Dreyfuss expire this summer. Dreyfuss is not eligible to re-apply for appointment by the County Council, but Anderson, who has been the chairperson since 2014 is eligible if running to retain his chairmanship.
Anderson, of Silver Spring, is a lawyer who founded a jury consulting firm after working as a congressional staffer, government relations executive and newspaper reporter.
Five people have applied for the vacancies as of Friday, according to County Council staff: Charles Kauffman, of Bethesda, Brandy Brooks, Silver Spring, Timothy French, Bethesda, Partap Verma, Silver Spring and Stephen Alfandre, of Kensington.
Applications will be accepted until 5 p.m. April 24.
Annual compensation for board members is currently $30,000, while the chairperson, who also oversees the Maryland-National Park and Planning Commission, earns $207,262.
The planning department is a bi-county agency that regulates real estate development, plans transportation infrastructure and manages the park systems for Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.
Planning Board members meet once a week and oversee sector plans, development projects and manages the planning department’s $5 million budget.
Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org