City Council voted to name one new member to the Planning board and one to Regional School Unit 71’s Board of Directors at its Dec. 15 meeting.

Kathleen Dunckle will replace Declan O’Connor on the Planning Board after the board finishes its review of Nordic Aquafarms’ proposed land-based fish farm. Councilors will decide if she will be an alternate or a full-time member of the board, which carries a five-year term, at a future meeting.

O’Connor’s term ended in July, but he stayed on the Planning Board to finish the Nordic review. City Councilor Mary Mortier wanted to wait to decide if Dunckle will be an alternate or full-time board member in case other board members decide to resign after the decision on Nordic’s application, she said. Councilor Neal Harkness said the council should just handle board resignations as they come.

Dunckle holds a doctorate in forest resources and has worked in the environmental field for 20 years, according to her application. Councilors said they were impressed by her level of knowledge when they interviewed her.

Councilors chose Dunckle over one other applicant, Philippa Jollie, whom they said was just as competent. Jollie is a Belfast native who owned a small business in Hudson, Massachusetts, where she founded a downtown business association before returning to Belfast, according to her application.

“When we’ve just come through a long period of review for the Nordic application … it’s so heartening and refreshing to have two very strong candidates apply for an open Planning Board position,” Mortier said. “So, we’re very fortunate as a community.”

She said she would not be surprised if other board members decide to step down after the long and arduous process of reviewing Nordic’s application; in that event Jollie’s application will be considered again.

Mayor Eric Sanders suggested that the council should debrief board members after the Nordic process is through because of how time-consuming it has been.

Kimberly Daisy Beal, who is an alternate, holds the next board member seat to expire in July 2021.

Ryan Otis will replace Caitlin Hills on the RSU 71 Board of Directors. Hills resigned last month after she called people who voted for President Trump obscene names on Facebook and the post was shared around the community.

Otis was the only applicant considered by the council and is a parent of three school-aged children, according to his application. He is a member of the district's finance committee, a small business owner and a board member for the Shriners Hospital for Children in Boston.