Mitch Slater, director of maintenance and operations for the Lodi Unified School District, has been appointed to the Lodi Planning Commission.
He replaces Commissioner Bill Cummins, whose term expired on June 30. Commissioner Debbie Olson’s term also expired, but she was re-appointed after an interview.
“I want to do what I can to help the city grow and prosper,” Slater said.
The 61-year-old Lodi resident made his first vote on the board at their July 10 meeting, when he voted to approve a new winery opening on Central Avenue. Slater approved of owner Gerardo Espinosa’s “slow and steady” opening plan.
“Move slow to move fast. That’s what I see him doing, and that’s what Lodi does well,” Slater said.
Slater served on the Site Plan Architectural Review Committee from 2005 to 2013. Before he was approved for the commission this month, Slater interviewed with two previous mayors for a seat on the board.
“I’m glad to be able to give back as a public servant,” he said. “If you can and you have time, you ought to.”
Members of the Planning Commission do not enact city policies but review applications for new businesses or the expansion of existing operations.commissioners serve four-year terms.
Former commissioner Cummins chose not to reapply for the position. At the meeting, commission chairman Dave Kirsten thanked him for his work.
Like many Lodi officials, Slater believes the wineries are working well to set Lodi apart as a destination.
“I’ve seen what Napa was able to do, and we’re getting there,” he said. “Each of these different wineries bring a new nuance to town.”
Slater grew up in Vallejo and worked for 25 years on the Mare Island Naval Shipyard as an electrician and an environmental compliance program manager. In the past, Slater played trombone in ‘40s- and ‘50s-style swing bands, along with joining in on traditional German Oom-pah bands.
Slater moved to Lodi in 1998, where he lives with his wife, Deborah. He has four grown children.
Contact reporter Sara Jane Pohlman at email@example.com.