CAMDEN, NJ — The Camden City Council on Tuesday appointed Derek Davis to a five-year term as a commissioner to the Camden Redevelopment Agency and Steven Lee to a four-year term as a member of the city’s Planning Board.
The language in the resolutions reflects that the nominees — the second of which was recommended to the role by Mayor Frank Moran — had qualifications which the council said it was satisfied with. However, after it was revealed that formal interviews were not conducted, one resident questioned the process.
City Council President Curtis Jenkins and other council members said the interviews were not conducted partly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but that they would look to hold them soon via Zoom.
Pastor Amir Khan, a longtime city advocate, said interviews should have already been conducted. He said a resolution in last month’s meeting, which he recalled Councilwoman Shaneeka Boucher addressed, was also voted on somewhat hastily.
“[It had to do with the use] of a parking lot for food distribution, which was great,” Khan said during the meeting. “But I'm just saying there's too many of these that are happening, right? Where we're voting on things after the fact.”
Councilwoman Felisha Reyes-Morton, part of the Municipal Appointment Committee (MAC) which works to streamline the appointment process, ensured that part of the reason the committee was formed to hold an equitable and transparent process.
Councilmen Angel Fuentes and Victor Carstarphen are also part of the MAC.
“We may not all get an opportunity to interview [the nominees] but we get an opportunity to review the resumes, so we're not going in completely blank, not knowing any information... our goal is also to make those decisions based on work that we know about and [work we have] seen them do in the community,” Bouche said during the meeting.
“But I agree with you, we do have a committee process that we will make sure that we adhere to,” she said in response to Khan.
Davis’ term will expire May 11, 2025, and Lee’s on May 11, 2024.
A date wherein they will be sworn in has not been announced.