Salisbury Historic District Appointment Questioned

SALISBURY – A Historic District Commission member’s past resulted in her reappointment being questioned this week.

The resolution on the table was to reappoint Barbara Loreman to the Salisbury Historic District Commission.

Councilwoman Eugenie Shields said she usually does not object re-appointments but this time around she felt concerned over Loreman returning to the commission.

“I believe when you are appointed to a commission you need to be objective … and be fair to all residents of the community,” she said. “You should represent all people of the city.”

A complaint was filed in the past against Loreman by Adams Housing accusing the commission member for entering one of its houses without consent.

“I don’t believe any commission member should ever enter a property without consent,” Adams Housing owner Kris Adams said. “I also do not think that any commission member should provide evidence obtained during an illegal inspection of the property to influence a commission. I also don’t think it is appropriate when government authorities are made aware of particular indiscretions and they are ignored … it is not appropriate for government to overstep its legal limits.”

Shields and Councilwoman Laura Mitchell agreed the matter should be brought to a work session so concerns could be discussed with Loreman, who was not present during Monday evening’s meeting.

“The charter is clear as to whom this comes from, and in this particular case it comes from my office,” Mayor Jim Ireton said. “She [Loreman] is a long time neighborhood activist … she comes with some knowledge of historic places and historic houses and all I can say to you is if you wish to take it back to work session that is certainly your choice, but I am going to put the name forward again at the next available opportunity.”

Council Vice President Deborah Campbell was ready to take a vote that night.

“I have observed the entire commission conducting its work, and Ms. Loreman as a representative of that commission is well versed in the rules and the guidelines, which is the basis upon which that commission is expected to make its rulings,” she said.

Councilman Tim Spies added that the accusations made in the past are not relevant to her reappointment.

“If there is something to be said about her performance as a commission member, then the president of the commission should take action against her,” he said.

Mitchell’s motion to table the reappointment in order for the matter to be further discussed at a work session did not pass in a vote of 2-3, with Campbell, Spies, and Council President Cohen in opposition.

Cohen said she had attended a hearing involved with the claim against Loreman.

“The actual incident sounded fairly innocent to me and there was probably some communication understanding,” she said.

Cohen added that it is not the council’s place to decide whether the claim was true or not.

“This nominee always has the rule book with them, and quotes the code not only for the Historic District Commission but for the Board of Zoning Appeals and the Housing Board of Adjustment Appeals, and so on,” she concluded. “I feel that she has attempted to be very diligent and very forthcoming …”

The council voted to approve Loreman reappointment with Shields in opposition and Mitchell abstained.