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Friday December 3rd

Town bodies to see membership shift

	<p>Penny Rich</p>
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Penny Rich

The Carrboro Board of Aldermen and the Chapel Hill Town Council will reconvene in the coming weeks, but residents will see changes in leadership before the end of the year.

Alderman Dan Coleman and councilwoman Penny Rich will soon leave their seats on the boards.

Dan Coleman: Dan Coleman is leaving the Carrboro Board of Aldermen in January. His wife will start a job as a professor at Monash University in Australia.
Penny Rich: Penny Rich will leave the Chapel Hill Town Council in December after an unopposed bid to join the Orange County Board of Commissioners.

While the process for selecting replacements hasn’t yet started, councilwoman Donna Bell said members are evaluating how the changes will affect leadership.

“The council is going to have to adjust as a group to figure out what our different roles are,” Bell said.

Coleman goes to Australia

In January, Coleman will move to Melbourne, Australia, where his wife will teach at Monash University.

“My wife had a really excellent job opportunity there, and it presented a lot of opportunities for myself and for my son in terms of experiencing a new country and a new way of life,” said Coleman, who has been an alderman since 2006.

Coleman has focused on affordable housing — an area he is confident the board will continue to pursue.

“I think, along with my colleagues, we’ve accomplished a lot during the past seven years,” he said.

Coleman will resign in January, at which time the board will schedule an election to fill his seat.

He plans to get involved in politics in Melbourne.

“Melbourne is also a place where people are very committed to working together and using government as a vehicle to create a better quality of life,” he said.

The board will reconvene tonight at 7:30 p.m.

Rich becomes a commissioner

Rich will leave the town council in December to join the Orange County Board of Commissioners.

She won the Democratic primary for District 1 in May and will run unopposed in the Nov. 6 election.

“She brought a really passionate energy to the town council and a dedicated energy to … Chapel Hill,” said councilman Lee Storrow.

Storrow is concerned about the possibility of the council becoming less diverse when Rich leaves.

Rich said it’s important to maintain a balance of men and women on council and to provide representation for the Jewish community.

“Diversity is a key to a well-rounded decision by a council,” Rich said. “I’m hoping the council looks at that when they make their decision.”

Bell said the town council will consider applications and appoint someone to fill Rich’s seat this fall.

“I am always concerned with issues of diversity … but the first concern should be having someone who is qualified for the position,” she said.

The council will reconvene at 7 p.m. on Sept. 12.

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