Update: Councilman Ray Ferris has withdrawn his motion to disband the Mill Mountain Committee. Ferris admits he was drawn too deeply into the weeds, commended the committee for its good works and said it is council’s, not the committee’s fault, that it lacks a stated mission.
Roanoke Councilman Ray Ferris plans to do a strange thing: abolish an engaged, respected committee. His colleagues need to stop him.
Roanoke Councilman Ray Ferris seeks today to kill the Mill Mountain Advisory Committee. If he succeeds, the star should be switched off tonight as a signal to all of Roanoke and beyond that the city’s celebrated mountain stands vulnerable to the whims of an elected body.
To Ferris’s mind the committee ceased to exist the moment it no longer had a development proposal to consider. Today’s council vote, then, would be merely a formality. He’s wrong, not in laying out the facts he’s discovered, but in the conclusion he draws: Because the committee once was named “ad hoc,” after it met its single-focus mission – advise council on the development of Mill Mountain – it no longer existed. The committee, though, by nature has acted throughout its 47-year history as a lasting, standing committee with many purposes.