Montreat Board of Commissioners elects new member to replace Lentz

Ezra Maille
Black Mountain News
Mason Blake was sworn in by Angie Murphy, the town clerk, as the newest member of the Montreat Board of Commissioners on Dec. 9.

The Montreat Board of Commissioners elected Mason Blake to fill the vacancy left by former Commissioner Alice Lentz at the regular town council meeting on Dec. 9. 

"I'm excited to join the council, grateful to be appointed and sad that Alice left the commission," Blake said. "She's done a great job but since she's leaving, I'm happy to join and work with these fine people."

Lentz stepped down from her position at the meeting to a standing ovation from the board and members of the public in attendance. The board then nominated, elected and swore in Blake who began the position immediately, finishing the remainder of the meeting as a commissioner. 

"I couldn't help but think how thankful I am that we've had Commissioner Lentz," said Commissioner Kent Otto. "What a hard working person for this community." 

Having grown up the son of a city commissioner and the grandson of a county commissioner, Blake said he's well aware of how difficult the job can be. Although the newly appointed commissioner said he doesn't yet have any goals for the position, he aims to quickly get up to speed and resume where Lentz left off. 

In addition to the Board of Commissioners vacancy, four members of the Board of Adjustment, three members of the Tree Board, one member of Open Space Conservation and six members of planning and zoning will have vacancies open at the end of January, according to Alex Carmichael, the town administrator. 

Due to Lentz's absence, Mayor Tim Helms appointed Commissioner Jane Alexander to fill the commissioner spot on the Tree Board. 

"Several folks have reapplied for reappointment but we're still needing more," Carmichael said.